Film review – The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau: David Norris (Matt Damon) and Elise Sallas (Emily Blunt)
David Norris (Matt Damon) and Elise Sallas (Emily Blunt)

Young, charismatic and confident, Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) seems predestined for political glory. When he by chance meets aspiring ballet dancer Elise Sallas (Emily Blunt) it is love at first sight. The problem is that David was not pre-destined to be with Elise so a group of mysterious beings, who covertly manipulate the evolution of the human race, must intervene to keep him away from her.

For the past three decades the philosophical science-fiction novels and short stories of Philip K. Dick have been a source of inspiration for filmmakers. While The Adjustment Bureau falls short of other Dick adaptations, such as Blade Runner and Total Recall, it does raise some fascinating questions about the nature of free will.

Although The Adjustment Bureau ultimately doesn’t explore its intriguing science-fiction/thriller scenario to the extent of similarly themed films such as The Truman Show and The Matrix, it operates far more successfully as a romance. There is a genuine sense of attraction and chemistry between Damon and Blunt, and the immense opposition that they face to be together very effectively becomes the driving force of the film.

Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 375, 2011

© Thomas Caldwell, 2011

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