The Adjustment Bureau [DVD] 
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Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he’s ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York.
On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)—a woman like none he’s ever known. But just as he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart.
David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself—the men of The Adjustment Bureau—who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path…or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.
The Adjustment Bureau is written for the screen and directed by George Nolfi (writer of Ocean’s Twelve, co-writer of The Bourne Ultimatum). It is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (Total Recall, Minority Report and Blade Runner).
- Leaping Through New York
- Becoming Elise
- Destined To Be
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Feature Commentary
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Using the basis of the short story 'Adjustment Team', first-time director George Nolfi also wrote the screenplay (after earlier writing contributions for films like 'Ocean's Twelve' and 'The Bourne Ultimatum') and was a producer for this sci-fi romantic thriller.
I enjoyed this film, which features a notable cast, a lot and it is presented very well on Blu-ray; the baffling things is that whilst it made a healthy box-office profit and got decent critical appraisal, it has a relatively low review-count on Amazon....
Unless you like to know beforehand a lot of the intricacies of a film plot, then the Amazon synopsis is best avoided - instead, here's just the (much less revealing) 2nd paragraph of it :
'On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)—a woman like none he’s ever known. But just as he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. '
The plot is of the slow-reveal type, hence my recommendation to avoid the full Amazon synopsis, and after an appreciable time you still only get an initial idea of what is going on; in the meantime, a lot of events occur which serve to either support or confuse the understanding, as it can be difficult to deduce quite how sinister are.
However, the major matter which drives the story along is the personalities of the 2 lead characters and, especially, their blossoming relationship/how they interact; I suppose a theme summarisation might be something like 'Love, in the face of adversity' ! With the Philip K. Dick influence, who's work is often on the 'dark' side, quite how sinister outside influences are takes quite a time to be clear.....
The dominance of the 2 lead characters demands good performers, and here we get them with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt really showing the best of their acting capabilities - especially as the love 'theme' is mixed with quite a lot of dynamic action but, above all, a stack load of plot 'theory' argument/discussion/analysis and the like, which is especially in the remit of the notable supporting cast.
The production-values of the film are good but, despite the sci-fi theme, don't expect a wealth special effects - indeed don't expect any at all might be more accurate, save for some complicated graphics displayed on tablet screens ! The lead characters, story-telling, plot revelations and general dialogue are the main effects here - with massive support from a LOT of external settings in New York.
I found the screenplay and story structure particularly accomplished and entirely in keeping with the aim of plot themes and the way things are revealed in stages.
Whilst quite a lot of the action does occur in those outside settings, this film is actually quite dark in general appearance with a subdued colour palette and even more subdued musical soundtrack. Everything is there, it's just not as bright, with the presentational details set at, say, a hypothetical position '7' whereas a lot of sci-fi thrillers have it at '9' or the maximum of '10'.
This also explains why the presentation on Blu-ray might come across as underwhelming, when in fact it is sharp/flawless as one should expect of a modern release but also completely faithful to reality and as good as can be, it's just a tad 'lifeless' in terms of vibrancy as so much is subdued....
I picked this up used in it's 'Triple Play' format for a very good price, now it can be grabbed for an absolute pittance - which makes a nonsense of buying either the solo DVD or Blu-ray.
I've attached a photo of the case back with all the disc info as Amazon omits it.
The disc extras are very decent, with a commentary and extras with a running-time approaching 1hr. I've only perused the commentary, which was OK - but is a little too full of compliments to production members and I was initially confused as George Nolfi is the only contributor, but only presents himself as the writer - omitting to mention that he also directed the film !!!
So, this film is really an accomplished sci-fi romance, with thriller and dramatic elements intermingled which means that, along with the subdued presentation/musical soundtrack and often dark surroundings, the overall impression can lead towards the underwhelming end of the spectrum - but that is, with hindsight a rash impression to form and very unfair. Similarly subdued aspects for the Blu-ray presentation are also possible, but again after things progress it should be realised that everything is as good as it should be.
However, it is the excellent lead performances that make this film so successful; this is, after all, a love story about these 2 people so if those characters aren't played to their fullest, to reflect the significant themes of the plot then all would be lost - but Matt Damon and Emily Blunt ensure everything is entirely effective and, ultimately, thoroughly believable.
I'm not a fan of Matt Damon, but I loved this film even though I didn't enjoy his character. I would have liked to have seen someone else play his part because his acting always feels very insincere to me, like he's always having a private little joke to himself all the time or something. Thankfully Emily Blunt makes up for it and makes it believable.
I didn't know anything about the film before I watched it and I'm glad. I would highly recommend people to avoid any spoilers.
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