Directed by George Nolfi
Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terrence Stamp
Here we have another film adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story. Many films have previously been adapted from his work including Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Next, and Paycheck. From this list it’s easy to tell that some Dick stories are amazingly well adapted to film and others, not so much. Screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum, Ocean’s Twelve) took a stab at adapting this Philip K. Dick story and then making his directorial debut on this film too.
Matt Damon plays David Norris a rising star politician whose career is cut short due to the reveal of a previous mistake in his life. When he’s at his lowest a chance encounter with Elise (Emily Blunt) changes his life and sets him back on a successful path. He never forgets the woman and a series of circumstances put the two of them together again on a bus. There’s immediate attraction between them and the need to further investigate the chemistry between them. The problem is a mysterious group of men working for the Adjustment Bureau is determined to keep the two of them apart.
Overall this film is a stylistic light and breezy romance set against a science fiction backdrop. Even light and breezy as the film is The Adjustment Bureau still manages to comment on some classic thematic elements in sci-fi. This story focuses on the elements of fate and of free will. Godlike characters do everything in their power to pull these two lovers apart even manipulating free will of everyone around them in order to end their relationship. The thing is as powerful as they are can they truly fight fate? Sometimes it doesn’t matter what obstacles are put in front of us, what odd circumstances we find ourselves in, when something is meant to be it just will be. David and Elise are meant to be together for better or worse. The idea is that every little thing we do in this world causes a ripple in the universe that changes everything. What if them being together changes things for the worse?
The Adjustment Bureau is a sometimes vague on purpose and other times by accident. The story is more interested in examining these deeper elements than answering every little question in the film. This may be annoying to some viewers but if you truly get involved in the questions of fate and free will and combine that with spot on chemistry between Damon and Blunt and you get an entertaining film. It’s romantic and sometimes a little silly but every good romance should have some silly in it. If you can’t laugh then you can’t truly be happy right? If you are someone who believes in things like karma and fate, something I’ve become a believer of myself, then you’ll enjoy this science fiction romance that sits on these elements. You’ll also know how the film is going to end just after the opening credits but this story isn’t about the ending, it’s about the journey to that end. The end of the story is a matter of fate after all. There’s great but not too heavy handed style and the action is fast paced and a few times surprising. The adjustment Bureau is no Oscar contender but it’s still an entertaining little story.