The Adjustment Bureau

ADJUSTMENT BUREAU poster Matt Damon Emily Blunt

Rating: 3 of 5 ★★★☆☆ 

We need more action romances so it becomes its own genre.

As much as I talk about fun work stuff, I try not to get into the nitty gritty of some of it because, honestly, that can spoil some of the fun of it and also tends to create cynicism. But I really can’t look at The Adjustment Bureau with a unbiased eye.

Almost two years ago I read a draft of The Adjustment Bureau and thought it was well written and interesting and intriguing. It was a one of the “super-secret” scripts that no one wants you reading and so it’s a little uncouth to talk about having read it. But what’s done is done.

It’s always weird to watch a movie or tv show you’ve read the script to. Just like it’s odd to watch something you were on the set of. Because no matter how hard you try, or what you try to ignore, you can never quite break through into that willing suspension of disbelief. You don’t see the characters or the story – you just see the actors and the fake wall video village was hiding behind. And you don’t get caught up in the story, because you know the story so it’s a matter of watching something you know play out rather than any sort of discovery – like watching a game you’ve previously recorded with someone who hasn’t seen it before. There’s so much less emotion when you know what’s coming.

All of which to say, when I went to see The Adjustment Bureau I was curious how much it would resemble the script I’d read and how well they made that script. Let me just say, they made it very well. As far as execution goes, it was great. The directing was beautiful and Matt Damon and Emily Blunt were both fantastic and it was interesting and emotional and there was action and George Nolfi did a wonderful job.

But there were two small but significant changes from the script I read that were disappointing.

in case you haven't read the script or seen the movie ยป

1 – The script was so subtle – the word “angel” didn’t exist in it. There was no mention, let alone hint, of God. The Adjustment Bureau was truly this mysterious, unexplained group of men who went around adjusting people’s fates with their own rules and their source was basically unexplained. It made the story so much smarter because it wasn’t trying to explain itself to the audience. It also means wasn’t heavy handed or obvious.

2 – Thompson has this line at the end when they’re on the roof, Did you expect that you’d get here and meet The Chairman? That you’d get to change your fate or write your own?
This was totally a dig from the writer because in the draft I read – that’s exactly what happens! and it was beautiful. They get to the rooftop and The Chairman is there and he tells them that The Adjustment Bureau are just doing their job, but that David and Elise’s love is strong and good because they fought for it and he lets them be together without it destroying them. It was so much stronger and more poignant to have them talk to him face to face, to realize who it is meant to be without having been told beforehand, for him to say that the strength of their love changes their fate because really that’s more important. It was powerful and interesting.

So, it’s hard to look at a good movie and think about how great it could have been; to be objective when I wasn’t caught up in the story the way I wanted to be.


March 7, 2011 | Review , , , | this post contains affiliate links