The Adjustment Bureau

  • 2011-03-09
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: George Nolfi

Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (whose stories have also provided inspiration for the likes of “Total Recall” and “Minority Report”), “The Adjustment Bureau” is a curious blend of sci-fi thriller and old fashioned Hollywood romance.
Matt Damon plays David Norris, a high-flying politician who, after a chance meeting, becomes infatuated with the beautiful ballet dancer Elise. But his desire to be with Elise brings him into conflict with the Adjustment Bureau: a mysterious group of men who will manipulate everything to make sure that all humans stick to the ‘plan’ as written by their mysterious chairman. When Norris discovers that his plan means that he is destined to be apart from Elise forever, he decides to defy fate and come up against the men who – seemingly – have all of life under their control.

This is full of really good ideas with notions of free will and fate all giving some underlying intelligence to the numerous set pieces in the film. There are a few plot holes but the film bravely tries to explain everything and does so with enough style to make you forget the odd unanswered question. Similarly, the relationship between Norris and Elise would seem contrived in less skilled hands, but Damon and Emily Blunt have a good chemistry and do well in making you believe that the characters are destined to be together.

Still, after the likes of “Inception,” some of the film feels slightly flat with first-time director Nolfi never really managing to make the film look as spectacular and interesting as some of the ideas presented. Also, some of the allusions to religion seem smug and out of place with the rest of the film, and almost seem to have been put there to appease religious audiences in mid America. It’s a shame, as keeping the motives and methods of the Bureau even more obtuse would have made for a much more interesting affair.

Despite this, “The Adjustment Bureau” still manages to be an intelligent slice of mainstream cinema that mixes in some clever ideas amongst its story of true love.

Now showing  in all three countries.


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