When Bold Concepts Meet Lazy Script Writing
The Adjustment Bureau is a perfect example when a great idea is ruined by predictability and poor execution. The story revolves around David Norris (Damon), a promising politician whose youthful impulses keep him from realizing his goals of rising in the political ranks. Unbeknownst to him, forces beyond his control have been monitoring and attempting […]
The Adjustment Bureau is a perfect example when a great idea is ruined by predictability and poor execution. The story revolves around David Norris (Damon), a promising politician whose youthful impulses keep him from realizing his goals of rising in the political ranks. Unbeknownst to him, forces beyond his control have been monitoring and attempting to aid him in making sure he stays on track for his destiny’s greater purpose. However a chance encounter with a woman(Emily Blunt) he was never suppose to see again leads to him fighting to control his own destiny.
First up the good. The concept for this movie revolves around the whole idea of “Free Will”, not necessarily a new concept in movies but the way this movie handles it had potential. Do we truly have free will or are there forces outside of our control that move us towards our destiny? It’s a question that’s asked all the time in philosophy classes and this movie has a particular take on it. The movie is a little slow, as it’s not an action movie. But I think the pace was necessary for what was trying to be portrayed. In a lot of movies like this, they try to jam everything into a couple of days on screen. But in this movie, the events span pretty much 5 years and that aids in telling the story and displaying the lengths some people will go to “change” their destiny.
There are two big problems with this movie: a lack of continuity and a predictable/lazy ending. Let’s deal with the first issue. I almost feel as if this movie had an unfortunate experience in the editing room. Part of me wants to believe that maybe some pieces were intentionally left out to leave the audience the ability to “come to their own conclusions” but if that’s true then this movie is lazier than I thought. There are certain connections that are hinted at but never explained or when they are, they only lead to more questions. One of the “adjusters”, Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie) is hinted at having a connection with (or at least knowing more about) David Norris’s father, brother and mother…but it’s never explained. And that’s a recurring theme. The Adjusters have been around for a long time and are clearly an important part of this movie but there’s no real information on their history and who/what they are. To be clearer, you’re given a pretty good idea of who they are and who they ‘work for’ in the movie but I would have appreciated it if the filmmakers had explored their history a little more considering how fascinating of a concept it was. Normally I could probably let this slide, but there are at least two instances in which the connection between the adjusters and David’s life are mentioned with no detail. The first is when it is revealed that David & Elise were meant to be together in an earlier version of “the plan”. But no further information is really given which is a letdown because that is at the center of the attraction David & Elise feel for each other. The second instance is when Harry reveals that he knew David’s father, brother and mother. This possibly suggests that Harry was also the “adjuster” for those members of David’s family (particularly David’s brother & father). This is important because Norris finds out about the adjusters because Harry falls asleep, suggesting that he’s exhausted from his work. But again, we don’t even get a flashback to show why he would be exhausted.
Now while a bit of a letdown, I could have let those things slide. But what really angered me (to the point after the movie on Twitter I rated this movie a Zero) was the predictable ending. With 20 minutes left in the film, you know EXACTLY how this film will end. When I say exactly, I found myself mouthing the lines before they were even said on screen. Now that in itself isn’t entirely bad because watching the trailer, you can perhaps deduce what will happen as well. I probably could have forgiven the predictability if the movie had not simultaneously sabotaged itself by making the last 20 minutes of the movie one of the most boring and un-suspenseful chase scenes I’ve ever seen. At no point, as David & Elise are running from the adjusters do you ever really feel as though they are in danger. Before the chase began, I got on the edge of my seat cause I just knew I was in for something good. There were 2 chase scenes before the final one in the movie and both of them were entertaining. So it was a letdown that the last 20 minutes was just a bore to me. Then do to some heavy handed clues during the last 20 minutes, you know how the film is going to end and it’s really frustrating. This movie had the potential to “dare to be bold” and they set it up to do so but then at the end it just gives the audience a lazy and typical ending.
Before the ending I would have given the Adjustment Bureau 3 More Epic Than Love Jones, maybe even a 3.5. But I was so angered by the completely lazy cop out ending, that I can’t give this more than a 2 – 2.5 More Epic Than Love Jones. Now I’m aware that this is a low review for a movie that generally is doing rather well (Rotten Tomatoes has it at 70%). But I was just really let down by the laziness for such a bold concept. Others might not be. So while I’m giving it a 2.5, I still suggest others go see it to gauge it for themselves