He’s asking this because, at this particularly heated point in the plot, there is nothing more important than finding this little out-of-the-way dance troupe.
His future, his fate — everything rests on it. Sounds silly, perhaps, but the beauty of this film is how it fits dance, the most ephemeral and fragile of the arts, so seamlessly — and even poetically — into a muscular action flick. Dance fans, rejoice: If you were among those guffawing through the implausibilities of “Black Swan,” if you have despaired of Hollywood ever losing its adolescent view of dancers, “The Adjustment Bureau” is a film to lift your spirits. Dance is handled extraordinarily well in this treatise on fate versus free will, in which a grim cabal of secretive hat-wearing men stalks Damon, as rising politician David Norris, to keep him on his preordained path — whether he likes it or not. (He doesn’t.)
“The Adjustment Bureau” is not, by any means, a dance film. But woven through the chase scenes and the romance is the quest for freedom, to do what you want and love whom you wish. Destiny dukes it out with serendipity. And in the crucial role of David’s aha! moment: a dancer. His love interest, Elise — who is also the reason the Adjustment Bureau suits are on his tail — is played by Emily Blunt in one of the most believable actor-portrayals of a dancer in recent memory.
What Blunt captures — and what the script, by writer-director George Nolfi, movingly underscores — is the elevating, liberating power of dance. Blunt’s Elise is a bright, independent free spirit who unlocks something vital in Damon’s dutiful, over-managed do-gooder. She’s the intellectual equal of the aspiring senator, and as she teases him for eyeing her legs or dunks his BlackBerry in his coffee, she brings out the charismatic friskiness that he has submerged for the campaign. When he spies on her rehearsal at the ballet studio — after one of those cafe patrons whose lunch he has interrupted volunteers the address — Elise shows him a world of self-discovery and beauty.
“If he sees her dance, it’s over,” one of the bad guys warns another. You can see why they fear her influence as David falls under the sway of Elise’s solo, shown ever so briefly — and tantalizingly — as an expression of questioning, and the emergence from dark into light.
This is why a dancer’s influence, her desire to push and explore on a level beyond words, is so dangerous to the men who seek to control David. The Bureau — representing Fate, or maybe a none-too-benevolent God or the higher power of your choice — can’t deal with freedom. At one point, one of the Bureau agents confides to David: “Improvisation — we have trouble with that.” (I choose to see that as a dance reference, too.)