Advertisement

The Men in the Grey Flannel Suits

The trailer for The Adjustment Bureau looks lovely. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt have some real chemistry, and as a sinuous dancer, she certainly looks like someone a single candidate for Senate might be at serious risk of being distracted by. And the movie’s concept, that we are controlled by a coterie of men in fedoras and grey suits (among them, John Slattery, who I adore, and who, along with Mark Harmon, makes a strong case for men who look their age acting their age on-screen) has a tender old-fashioned-ness to it. This isn’t the technological nightmare of The Matrix, there’s an air of genuine mystery to it. See for yourself:

But, and perhaps this is an odd quibble in a science-fiction movie, but I will never cease to be annoyed by how little movies and television understand politicians. If a mysterious woman showed up and approached a candidate, alone, after an event, there’s a good chance there’d be staff, and he’d be hustled away from her. He wouldn’t have time to linger over her. He also sure as hell wouldn’t be riding the bus — he’d be in the vortex on the way too and from events. And there is no way any Senatorial candidate these days would wear a little hipster straw hat like that.I realize it’s griping. But the rhythms, vices, transgressions, and outright sins of politics are interesting enough in their own right to be worth portraying correctly. Those internal rhythms can drive plots compellingly on their own. And yet, nobody bothers to get it right. There’s Primary Colors, there’s Definitely, Maybe, but far too few movies these days are willing to really take politics and its dynamics as their subject and their frame device, and to reap the rewards of doing so. It’s particularly too bad that The Adjustment Bureau isn’t bothering, because in its themes of rigid control behind the scenes, it’s images of bland conformity, it has a perfect metaphor for how politics wished it worked.

Advertisement