Title: The Adjustment Bureau
Directed by: George Nolfi
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Lisa Thoreson
Written by: Karen Benardello
Action movies today often thrive on numerous big-budget stunts and forget about creating developed characters that audiences can relate to. However, the new romance thriller ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, successfully takes the risky move of forgetting the old stereotypes that comprise the suspense genre to instead focus on its characters.
‘The Adjustment Bureau’ follows New York congressman David Norris (played by Damon), who has long been embraced by the people he represents. However, his political luck is running out while he’s running for the U.S. Senate. On the night of the election, he meets a mysterious woman, Elise Sallas (portrayed by Blunt), while he’s preparing his speech in which he will announce that he’s stepping down from the race. She inspires him to instead speak from his heart, and the public embraces his honesty.
After leaving Congress, David begins working for his old campaign manager at a venture capital firm. While taking the bus to work on his first day, he once again sees Elise, who he was never supposed to see again, according to his life plan. David then arrives at work, and mistakenly sees men from the Adjustment Bureau examining his boss. The men then do whatever they can to keep David’s life on track and according to plan, including never seeing Elise again.
Universal Pictures, the studio that distributed ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ tried to advertise the movie as being parallel to one of Damon’s most successful series, ‘The Bourne’ franchise. While ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ which was directed and written by George Nolfi, certainly has similar characters to ‘The Bourne’ trilogy, including high-action chases between Damon and authority figures, it also surprisingly deviates from typical suspense thrillers.
Nolfi was skillfully able to focus the action on the characters’ fate, and their determination to fight for what they wanted. While many action thrillers focus solely on the characters’ need for revenge, David and Elise instead battle often unseen forces to stay with each other. David is a tremendously complex character, who not only struggles with the men from the Adjustment Bureau over who will make decisions for him and run his life, but with himself as well. Having watched his mother and brother die when he was a child, and then his father when he was a teenager, he constantly questions if his successful career will fill the void of not having close, intimate relationships.
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