The Adjustment Bureau

This was another film I saw while couped up in hospital, and again it immediately went on to my to-buy list as the credits rolled and I reached over for a tissue to wipe away my hyper-emotional tears. I’m sure The Adjustment Bureau will still be moving on a second viewing, but it’s probably not up there with An Affair To Remember on the heartstring-tugging list.

Put broadly, it’s somewhere between Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in terms of high concept weirdness. The perenially likeable Matt Damon is a politician on the campaign trail who meets and instantly falls for dancer Emily Blunt. It’s the second time Damon has worked with writer-director George Nolfi, who also penned The Bourne Ultimatum. In this – an adaptation of the Philip K Dick short story Adjustment Team – the shadowy figures screwing with his life are a supernatural agency who “adjust” the lives of anyone who devitates from “the Plan” – a document of destiny that is written by the mysterious Chairman. When Damon accidentally discovers the existence of these mysterious men in black, he learns that their job is to prevent his romance with Blunt’s character. Thrown into this bizarre new level of reality, he then upsets the supernatural order further by choosing to fight back.

It’s not really an action film, though there are plenty of fast-paced chases. It’s more a well-acted thriller and romantic drama with an excellent supporting cast including Terence Stamp as the ethereal bureaucrat determined to thwart Damon’s romantic ambitions and Anthony Mackie (8 Mile) as a kindly Bureau caseworker more sympathetic to Damon’s plight.

Most Philip K Dick adaptations work well in film – Bladerunner, Total Recall and Minority Report for three – and this is good (if not great), too. It’s more whimsical than most, but that adds to its charm.

One for the Christmas list, I think: I’ll look forward to seeing it again.





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