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.
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