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FILM REVIEW: The Adjustment Bureau


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The Adjustment Bureau tells the story of charming, but troubled New York politician David Norris (Matt Damon, Bourne), who in a chance encounter meets dancer, Elise (Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria). However, for reasons not revealed, the couple cannot be together and are kept apart by mystery agents who keep things on an unknown track, stopping things ‘just happening by chance’.

An adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story, the idea is simple. Can love conquer all? Can we change our fate? Well, Matt Damon sure is going to do his best to find out.

The Adjustment Bureau has been compared to the Bourne trilogy and even Inception, possibly due to writer and director George Nolfi’s past endeavours with action - writing Ocean’s Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum. But while The Adjustment Bureau may be labelled as sci-fi, it is a delicately made, softly woven piece of film, which avoids the magnitude of either Bourne or Inception. Those expecting another Bourne film will leave disappointed, The Adjustment Bureau is a gentle love story, before it is sci-fi.

Granted, the plot does feature more holes than a chunk of Swiss cheese (why doesn’t Elise find David if he is so well known? How come the agents can change everyone else’s path to get to David with no effect to the ripples?), but Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are just too watchable, to the point where you almost no longer care about the occasionally ropey plot.

Unexpectedly, the couple share a magnetic chemistry which is rare in Hollywood and will tug at even the most stubborn heart strings – it really is a pleasure to watch. Plus, with lines like, “If I’m not supposed to be with her, why do I feel like this?”, the sentiment behind the writing is too damned genuine to just dismiss so readily.

Even if you disagree with any of the film’s good points, you surely must commend Thomas Newman’s (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) unmistakably gorgeous soundtrack. As haunting as it is sincere, the score provides the perfect compliment to the film’s bittersweet message.

While The Adjustment Bureau may frustrate you at times, we challenge you not to leave without a warm feeling in your chest and a fast track ticket into the Emily Blunt/ Matt Damon fan club.

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