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George Nolfi
Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery
Writing Credits:
George Nolfi

An affair between a politician and a contemporary dancer is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.

Box Office:
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$21.157 million on 2840 screens.
Domestic Gross
$62.453 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 6/21/2011

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director George Nolfi
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “Leaping Through New York” Featurette
• “Destined to Be” Featurette
• “Becoming Elise” Featurette
• Interactive May of New York


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Adjustment Bureau [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 22, 2017)

For a take on a Philip K. Dick story, we head to 2011’s The Adjustment Bureau. The film starts in 2006, when New York Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) runs for the US Senate. He loses the campaign but gains stature when he gives a memorable concession speech.

What makes this oratory so great? Before David gave it, he bumped into a lovely young woman named Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). They established a connection and she encouraged him to speak from the heart and be less of a standard issue politician. David does this, and the result sets him up as a future contender.

David bumps into her again when he rides the bus to work. This time he gets her number and plans to formally woo her, but fate intervenes – literally.

When David arrives at his office, he discovers all his co-workers frozen in place as a mysterious team mucks with them. Squad leader Richardson (John Slattery) explains that they’re from “The Adjustment Bureau”, a group that keeps humans on the right track. They came to the office to influence David’s partner Charlie’s (Michael Kelly) thoughts about a deal, but Richardson also warns David to stay away from Elise.

Richardson doesn’t explain why David and Elise need to stay separated, though the agent does his best to prevent a future connection when he destroys David’s copy of her phone number. Since David doesn’t know her last name, he possesses no method to contact her, though he rides the same bus for years in the hope he’d meet her again.

Fast-forward three years and David again stands as a front-runner for a Senate election. On that bus once more, he happens to spy Elise on the street and reconnects with her.

This leads to the start of a real romance – and many more attempts from the Bureau to keep them away from each other. David won’t take “no” for an answer, and he struggles against fate to be with the love of his live.

One might enter Bureau with the expectation of an action thriller. One won’t get it, for while the movie occasionally indulges in that kind of material, it doesn’t embrace it.

Even when we get to the film’s climax, it doesn’t deliver a lot of action pizzazz. The finale is exciting and fun but not exactly thrilling - and that’s fine with me, as Bureau delivers a surprisingly warm and human take on its supernatural subject matter.

Much of the credit goes to Damon and Blunt, as they demonstrate excellent chemistry. From minute one, we buy them as a couple and accept the “love at first sight” nature of their relationship.

That’s hard to pull off, but we don’t question their bond for an instant. Since so much of the flick relies upon that factor, this becomes intensely important, so the effectiveness of the Damon/Blunt pairing goes a long way.

Damon’s an unusual actor because he’s not really particularly interesting. He’s not quirky or charismatic or intense, and he seems to play every role about the same way, which means he should be a bore by now.

But he’s not, and I suspect that’s because Damon delivers something that’s hard to fake: he seems genuine. We believe Damon in whatever role he adopts, and he adds a layer of humanity often absent from those quirky/charismatic/intense actors.

This becomes especially crucial in Bureau due to the nature of the story. Sure, someone like Johnny Depp might be more fun to watch, but I’m not sure he’d allow us to buy into the conceit as well, as Damon’s presence grounds the tale.

I do like the story that Bureau relates, and I appreciate the way it skirts with theological issues but leaves them on the periphery. It certainly sets up some philosophical elements and can provoke discussion, but it keeps its eye on its main characters, which I think is a good idea.

We enter the bigger issues via the David/Elise relationship, so the movie never feels like some long-winded essay. This means it’s a good character piece with a bit more behind it.

As much as I like the story and construction of the narrative, though, I still think the Damon/Blunt pairing remains the main reason for the movie’s success. Lose them and we probably find ourselves detached from the outlandish story, but with those two involved, we embrace the tale and find it to be fun and engaging.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

The Adjustment Bureau appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with an excellent presentation.

Sharpness seemed solid. The film showed nice delineation, with nary a sliver of softness on display. Shimmering and jaggies weren’t an issue, and neither edge haloes nor print flaws created concerns.

As usual, the palette went with an orange and teal orientation. Tedious as these choices may be, the Blu-ray replicated them appropriately. Blacks appeared deep and dense, while shadows offered positive delineation. Everything about the image worked well.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. On the surface, Bureau would seem to be an action flick, but it’s really not, as it’s more of a love story with the occasional flourish.

This meant a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. When the track used the side or rear speakers, it was usually for score or material like street sounds or rain. Nothing memorable fleshed out the track, as it fit the movie reasonably well but didn’t add much.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity. Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a good but unspectacular track.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio seemed a bit fuller and peppier, and visuals showed much improvement, as they were tighter and cleaner. That step up in picture quality made the Blu-ray much better than the DVD.

The Blu—ray repeats the DVD’s extras, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director George Nolfi. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the film’s development, story/adaptation topics, themes and tone, cast and performances, editing and music, effects, and other filmmaking areas.

Nolfi provides an efficient commentary. He gets into a good mix of appropriate topic and does so in an engaging way. He helps make this a strong chat.

Six Deleted and Extended Scenes run a total of six minutes, 54 seconds. These include “Henderson Patronizes Richardson” (0:49), “David and Charlie in the Car” (0:39), “Henderson Offering Help” (0:30), “Additional Thompson Dialogue” (1:29), “Extended Cedar Lake Dancing” (2:27), and “Thompson Tells David to Walk Away” (1:01).

“Lake” is easily the most boring of the bunch; it just shows more of Elise’s performance and does nothing to further the film. The two Henderson clips are fun, however, as they show the pressure that barely-seen character places on Richardson. The other two scenes simply add more from Thompson and they seem redundant, though we get some interesting thoughts about the Bureau’s influence from “Additional Dialogue”.

Three featurettes follow. Leaping Through New York lasts seven minutes, 36 seconds and offers remarks from Nolfi, producers Michael Hackett and Chris Moore, production designer Kevin Thompson, visual effects supervisor Mark Russell, and actors Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

As implied by the title, “Leaping” looks at shooting in New York and aspects of scenes set there. “Leaping” provides a quick but satisfying take on some of the challenges faced by the crew.

Destined to Be fills four minutes, 51 seconds with notes from Damon, Blunt, Nolfi, and actor Anthony Mackie. We hear about the lead cast and characters. This is little more than a promo reel that tells us about aspects of the movie.

Finally, Becoming Elise goes for seven minutes, eight seconds and features Blunt, Nolfi, Hackett, Damon, Moore, choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer, and producer Bill Carraro. The piece looks at Blunt’s training for the role and her performance. It provides a good take on the work Blunt did for the part.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray, The Labyrinth of Doors presents an “”interactive map of New York”. This presents 12 different “doors” you can choose, and when selected, each one shows you an image of the location.

“Doors” also allows you to view the movie scene connected to that domain or a quick view of the shoot. It turns into a surprisingly useless extra. I thought we’d get actual information about the locations, but other than the brief behind the scenes clips, we don’t find anything productive.

Despite its action/sci-fi/thriller trappings, The Adjustment Bureau is an old-fashioned love story at heart, and one that works well. It can thank its leads for that, as Matt Damon and Emily Blunt make the outlandish tale succeed. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals along with generally good audio and supplements. I like the movie and think the Blu-ray delivers it well.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

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