Title: The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Director: George Nolfi Writer: George Nolfi // Philip K. Dick Studio: Universal Pictures IMDb Plot: The affair between a politician and a contemporary dancer is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart. Joe Says: A mash of sci-fi, fantasy, and rom-com, The Adjustment Bureau is a modern-day Hitchcockian genre flick with the right amount of movie magic.
A mash of sci-fi, fantasy and rom-com, The Adjustment Bureau works quite well as a suspend-your-disbelief narrative goes, mostly due to the believable chemistry between likable stars Matt Damon, a senator-to-be, and Emily Blunt, an NYC dancer.
Writer/director George Nolfi chose not to go easy with his first-time outing and adapted a Philip K. Dick story in which every event in life is mapped out – and policed by fedora-wearing caseworkers – but two lovers meet as a result of a cosmic accident and, as if a modern-day Hitchcockian duo, decide to run against fate. The resulting genre flick is a meeting of the overlord concept from Dark City and the rebelling-against-prophesy ideals from the Matrix, both of which parallel the age-old ordeal of the existence of free will. Damon does it with his Boston smile, Blunt with her accent.
Nolfi keeps the pace moving lightning quick, complete with a piano-heavy Thomas Newman score, and offers just enough exploration to keep the wow-factor accelerating giving neither the characters nor the viewer a chance to fully take a deep breath and put together the sense of it all. Is it truly to be believed that spilling your coffee is a planned event akin to the election of a president? However, the delivered world of the film is one of fun make-believe where impulsive choices are the best, properly-worn fedoras are still magical, and Matt Damon takes the bus – daily.
Another theme that helps complete The Adjustment Bureau story is the empowering choice to write your own ending. True, Damon and Blunt’s David and Elise, may have had their destiny already assured, at least by the viewer, but that classic sci-fi theme which states that the future is wide open, that destiny has not already been written, needs to be affirmed for the next generation, which is who, perhaps, Dick was ultimately writing for. Nolfi has helped with that vision.