Drinking a glass of orange juice right after you’ve brushed your teeth is never a brilliant idea. It tastes yucky, and you don’t only lose your orange juice experience, but also the fresh taste of spearmint in your mouth. What a waste.
At the age of 43, I probably should have known better. But when you’re planning for a mother-daughter evening, looking for a movie you can agree on despite your disparate ideas about what constitutes a good movie, you can’t afford to be picky, taking the taste from your latest film that lingers in your mind into concern. And that’s how it came that I watched The Adjustment Bureau only shortly after I had been floored by Incendies.
A brutal change of diet
The change of my diet was brutal, going from a dark, heavy and heartbreaking story from life to something light, non-realistic and slightly silly.
Even if I realized that the switch of genre would feel strange, I still had pretty high hopes for this movie. After all, just like Blade Runner and Minority Report, two sci-fi movies I genuinely like, it was based on a short story by Philip K Dick. I thought I would get something imaginative, a little bit twisted, with a certain amount of conspiracy, the individual fighting the system for his freedom of choice, exploring a labyrinth in his search for truth and justice.
What I saw in front of me was a sci-fi thriller with a pinch of bittersweet romance to spice it up and bring some heart into the story. What I got though was a dozen-romance movie film in the same class as Serendipity , although there was a little addition of with mystical men in hats running in and out of doors.
Maybe the stakes just weren’t high enough or maybe I wasn’t entirely invested in the love couple who are defying the powers that try to keep them apart. Regardless of the reason, I found myself rather un-involved, and far less excited than I would expect to be by a Philip K Dick adaptation.
I don’t hate romantic comedies as such; there are many good ones out there, but unfortunately this wasn’t one of those. I didn’t sense the passion they said they had; I had to trust on the assumption that it was their destiny to be together, and that’s not enough. It wasn’t good as a thriller; it wasn’t good as a romance. It fell flat somewhere in between.
A flawed movie
You should never dwell too much over the logics when you see movies that involve the supernatural, but there was one detail that boggled my mind. What kept the girl from calling the guy, a well known politician who should be easy enough to find? How hard is it to pick up a phone? Or is it plain unthinkable that a woman could take an initiative?
The Adjustment Bureau is a flawed movie, but it does have a little bit of charm, which I also should talk about in an effort to be fair.
I like the lack of gore and blood and guns and car chases and explosions that we get in such abundance in most thrillers. There are also certain ideas that I’ll put into my library of daydreams, such as the true reason why I spill coffee on myself or miss the buss.
But all in all, this was a disappointment. And I don’t think it was only due to its unfortunate position in my movie queue, right after brushing my teeth.
The Adjustment Bureau (Nolfi,US, 2001) My rating: 3/5