“The Adjustment Bureau” Movie Review


     In viewing the “The Adjustment Bureau”, you begin to ponder whether or not things DO happen for a reason.  Is there a master plan in place for each of us that we do not have the power to alter?  Is there an unseen force that prevents us from making decisions that will change the course of our existence?  The film makes a valiant attempt to answer these questions and more with a cleverly scripted narrative and a believable connection between the film’s two leads.

     Matt Damon stars as Congressman David Norris, who has made a variety of mistakes during his political career, yet still continues to ascend and remain popular in a bid to become a member of the U.S. Senate.  His first election falls short, due to a fight at a bar and his photo appearing on the front page of the paper the day of the election.  On the night of his loss,  David has a chance meeting with Elise, played by Emily Blunt.  The two hit it off instantly, as if they were meant to be together. 

     Suddenly, strange men begin to follow David and ultimately he discovers The Adjustment Bureau as he accidentally walks in on them freezing and altering reality.  It is explained that everyone’s life is mapped and their responsibility is to keep it on track.  When someone strays off the path, these men have the ability to freeze time and implant thoughts which will provoke the proper course of action and put that person back in line with their plan.  The problem is, David now knows everything and is told if he divulges anything about the Bureau, he will be “reset” which essentially means his entire life and personality are wiped away.  For reasons unknown to him, the men tell him he cannot have contact with Elise ever again.

     Years pass and David tries relentlessly to find Elise until they have another chance meeting.  The Bureau of course finds out about this and is back on his trail, seemingly willing to do anything to tear them apart.  David is convinced Elise is the woman of his dreams and the two of them desperately try to avoid the Bureau and the power they possess to end their relationship forever.

     Both Damon and Blunt do a fine job in the film and their courtship is believable.  The film explains why their relationship has the ability to move so quickly, but I want to stop with all of the important details.  Based on a short story by sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick (“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, the story which later became the basis for “Blade Runner”), the story is filled with nifty twists and turns and will likely remind some people of last year’s “Inception”.  For me, I look at this as more along the lines of the very smart sci-fi film “Gattaca”.  I say smart, because this is not a simple and mindless action film, rather it is a film you’ll want to pay attention to and ensure your absorbing all of the details since these will be needed by you late in the film to make sense of it all.

     It’s clear Matt Damon has come into his own.  He is now highly capable of being a leading man and has proven this through a wide range of successful films.  It was just March of last year that he followed up his highly successful “Bourne Trilogy” with “The Green Zone” and now he extends his range further with this great science fiction romance.  It is these types of exceptional and original works that a solid career is built on and Matt Damon seems to be following his “plan” just fine.  No need for any adjustment here.  GRADE: B+