movie re­view

Townsville Bulletin - - The Goss -

by Chris Brun­ton

THE Ad­just­ment Bu­reau is based very loosely on a short story by renowned au­thor Philip K Dick, whose pro­lific body of work has al­ready formed the ba­sis for some clas­sic science fic­tion movies in­clud­ing To­tal Re­call ( 1990), Mi­nor­ity Re­port ( 2002) and Ri­d­ley Scott’s sem­i­nal Blade Run­ner ( 1982).

Dick’s sur­real fan­tasies tend to ex­am­ine the fragility of how we per­ceive re­al­ity. His char­ac­ters slowly dis­cover ev­ery­thing they be­lieve is ac­tu­ally an il­lu­sion con­structed by an un­seen om­nipo­tent power, or more un­set­tling, the re­sult of the nar­ra­tor’s un­re­li­able point of view, be it drug­in­duced or psy­chosis.

Ig­nor­ing most of this, and to the film’s ben­e­fit, writer-di­rec­tor Ge­orge Nolfi has con­structed a ro­mance and po­lit­i­cal con­spir­acy not present in the source ma­te­rial.

On the cusp of win­ning a Se­nate seat, a chance en­counter with beau­ti­ful bal­let dancer Elise ( Emily Blunt) sets bril­liant young politi­cian David Nor­ris ( Matt Da­mon) on a col­li­sion course with the agents of Fate, the men from the Ad­just­ment Bu­reau, who will do ev­ery­thing within their seem­ingly lim­it­less power to pre­vent them from be­ing to­gether.

Con­fus­ingly mar­keted as a po­lit­i­cal science-fic­tion thriller, The Ad­just­ment Bu­reau is a se­ri­ous ro­mance for grownups. There is heart­felt chem­istry be­tween the leads and you’ll gen­uinely care what hap­pens to them.

As Ad­just­ment Bu­reau agents, An­thony Mackie ( The Hurt Locker) turns in an­other great per­for­mance, with Ter­ence Stamp and Mad Men’s John Slat­tery pro­vid­ing grav­i­tas and class. Spe­cial men­tion to the city of New York, whose pow­er­ful pres­ence makes her a char­ac­ter in her­self.

If the pay-off isn’t as jaw-drop­ping as The Ma­trix or The Tru­man Show, the ride is f ast-paced, s us­pense­ful, i mag­i­na­tive, charm­ing and so­phis­ti­cated – but with no rough lan­guage, gra­tu­itous vi­o­lence and naughty bits or Jen­nifer Anis­ton.

The Ad­just­ment Bu­reau may just be the per­fect date movie, pro­vid­ing plenty to talk about later.

The film: Rated: Di­rec­tor:

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