Just when you think we’ve seen all the love stories that could possibly be told on and off the big screen, “The Adjustment Bureau” comes along. It may not look like it, but that’s part of the brilliance behind this film and frankly, we haven’t seen much of that recently from Hollywood almost losing track of those films that run off a single abstract idea. And while “The Adjustment Bureau” is far from perfect, it still offers up a unique twist on love built around science fiction like you’ve never seen before.
Based off the Philip K. Dick short story, “Adjustment Team,” this entire film follows David Norris (Matt Damon) in and out of dynamic situations that he thought were genuine. But, when his bid to become New York’s next Senator crashed through the floor, he stumbled upon something he had never experienced before, love. While rehearsing his concession speech in what he thought was an empty men’s bathroom, Norris is met by Elise (Emily Blunt), a young vicarious woman hiding in one of the stalls. Turns out Elise was a bit of a chance taker and had crashed a few parties in the hotel where Norris was based, so naturally when she had sought refuge in the men’s bathroom, the last thing she expected was to run into someone like Norris. And having listening to his entire speech, she was intrigued by him, encouraging him to be brutally honest with his concession as he had nothing to lose. Feeling some of those same vibes, Norris leans in and kisses Elise prior to his speech, unleashing a series of events that would change the course of their lives forever. But, as they later found out, this so-called “chance” meeting was just the beginning to the puzzle of finding out who controls our everyday life leading to a conclusion full of unexpected twists and turns.
Anytime Matt Damon gets top billing on a film, people will take notice, right? I mean, the guy is a Oscar winner and part of one the best spy series ever to hit the big screen in “The Bourne Trilogy.” But, for some reason I think he’s still kind of an unknown simply because he never takes on that role that makes you want to run for the exits. Here, he plays a character struggling with what the true meaning of reality is after being introduced to “The Adjustment Bureau.” And while that may seem like no big deal, the range of emotion Damon displayed was uncanny at times. That was good to see and part of why it was easy to get into what Emily Blunt was doing opposite Damon. Not known in too many circles, Blunt is one of those actresses that just beams. Everything about her seems effortless and the more you watch her in this role, the more you like which pretty much sums up what she was able to do. That’s impressive and frankly unexpected as I never expected to enjoy Blunt’s character as much as I did here as the chemistry between her and Damon was spot on.
Many will look at “The Adjustment Bureau” and see only Damon and Blunt, but there’s so much more to this film outside the love story. Problem is, the writer/director George Nolfi never explained anything around this ‘supernatural organization,’ creating a lot of confusion for the first 35 – 40 minutes. I’ve always maintained, if you’re going to hang over the edge, you might as well jump in as once you introduce a theory or concept, you can never go back. And for a long time, I waited for Nolfi to do something more with this story, but it never came. That’s a shame as the cinematography and backdrops of New York City were unreal, helping to bridge the gap between all the sci-fi tendencies layered into the story. Because let’s face it, not everyone can get into science fiction the way its intended, so for anything this complex to be told in a way that wasn’t overbearing does deserve some accolades. I just wish I would have known a little more about ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ and what made them tick; maybe why they existed and how they formed so many centuries ago. I guess that’s what the short story is for.
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