We're Just Poor Players upon Life's Precarious Stage ...
Now throw in some seriously sincere romance, a gaggle of very serious angels and the tenuous dance of politics, and what we have is fairly credible story. Now all the director has to do in the wide realm of film production is to try not to screw it up as he /she constructs the story on celluloid.
In regards to the film "The Adjustment Bureau," first time Director George Nolfi took his screenplay of a Phillip K. Dick short story, "Adjustment Team," and very carefully made a fine first film. Director Nolfi incorporated all the aforementioned ingredients of integral storytelling, with a measure of suspense, timing, pace of action, and competent acting to make what may remain one of the top 15 movies of 2011. I know already that this film would have been one of the top 15 movies of 2010. Maybe 2011 will be a better year for the cinema.
Fortunately, 2011 started off on the right foot with "The Adjustment Bureau." We will just have to see how the rest of the year holds up.
Besides the excellent story involving the treatment of angels, irrepressible love, and the undeniable fact that some of us, well, most of us have no control over our lives, the producers, director, whomever was in control of casting: They did an excellent job.
Matt Damon, as Politician David Norris, looks like a regular guy, acts like a regular guy with high ambition, but has the capacity to take his characters quickly to a deeper place when the story requires it. In "The Adjustment Bureau," he got there pretty quick, and he carried it for the entire film ... carried it well.
Emily Blunt, as exceptional Ballerina Elise Sellas, is every woman, every girl ... effortlessly. She is not the greatest actress, but she is more than competent, and terribly interesting. She, like Matt Damon, is almost ordinary, and yet extraordinary in how she keeps one's attention as she unveils her character in layers before our attentive eyes. Like Actor Damon, she can also find that deep place where good actors go. It is her strength in pulling off every role in every film I have seen her in of late.
The cadre of angels: John Slattery as Richardson, Anthony Mackie as Harry Mitchell, Terence Stamp as Thompson are like grey clad G-Men ... very serious ... really committed to the job. I suppose that is a good thing, because their supernatural world is fraught with some serious responsibility. They truly have the weight of the world on their ethereal shoulders. And we are mere mortals ... poor players upon life's precarious stage.
Matt Damon, as Politician David Norris sees a supernatural dimension that he was not meant to see: Above. The men, or angels, of that world thought it wise to take a few minutes of his time to explain that new dimensional world to him, and the inherent ramifications of this new knowledge: Below.
And what a stage for the world of Matt Damon's and Emily Blunt's characters. David Norris is the consummate politician and Elise Sellas is the promising ballerina. They were not fated to be together ... or were they. Both unique characters have happy, successful, separate lives; but the attraction is instantly magnetic. The subplot to the plot is to what extent the Adjustment Bureau will go to remedy the situations that serendipitously align themselves in an ill-fated manner that demand total resolution, or do they?
David Norris, Matt Damon, has come into the possession of the playbook of the Adjustment Bureau, and summarily shows Elise Sellas, Emily Blunt the architectural design of their lives: Above. The Adjustment Bureau, Anthony Mackie and John Slattery in the foreground, know that Norris is their nemesis and they want their power over humans, and in particular this human, back: Below.
Is it a predetermined existence we poor players find ourselves chained to, or does free will determine our independent futures? It is a great storyline. Throw in a heavy dosage of ill-fated romance, with an appropriate measure of action, and one is not wasting any of the 106 minutes they surrender to enjoy this film.
David Norris and Elise Sellas find themselves in a world that is built upon the premise that there is no true free will, and they will not accept that maxim. Are they running from the powers to be, or are they running to a promising future together. You'll have to see the film to find out: Above.
While we all may be poor players on this precarious stage of life, one gets a strong sense from this film that God (the "Chairman" as He is known by the Adjustment Bureau) may have a most profound sense of humor; however, there were long stretches in this film when no one was laughing.
It is a very good film. It may wind up one of the best 15 movies of 2011. We shall see.
Released in theaters March 6, 2011. Rated PG-13.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.