The Adjustment Bureau (12A)

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Review byMatthew Turner04/03/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Impressively directed, nicely paced and superbly acted, this is a hugely enjoyable sci-fi thriller with shades of The Truman Show and sensational chemistry between the two leads, though the script is more interested in the romance than exploring any of its weighty themes.

What's it all about?
Directed by George Nolfi, The Adjustment Bureau is based on a story by Philip K. Dick (Adjustment Team, story fans) and stars Matt Damon as hotshot Congressman David Norris, who meets a beautiful woman (Emily Blunt as Elise) on the night that he loses his Senate campaign. When he walks into his office the next day he is shocked to see his colleagues all seemingly frozen in time while a group of hat-wearing bureaucratic types known as the Adjustment Bureau (lead by John Slattery and Anthony Mackie) perform a strange brain-altering process on them.

David panics and runs but the Adjustment Bureau catch him and explain that he has seen something he was never meant to see and, furthermore, he can never be with Elise because that would be against Fate's plan for the two of them, a plan the Bureau are sworn to protect. However, David cannot get Elise out of his head and dedicates himself to finding her, no matter how many obstacles the Bureau place in his path.

The Good
Damon can do 'likeable everyman' in his sleep and he's well cast here, delivering a superb performance as a man whose world is turned upside down in more ways than one; he also has sensational chemistry with Emily Blunt, who's charming, funny and drop-dead gorgeous in one of her best roles to date. In addition, there's strong support from Anthony Mackie and John Slattery (who unfortunately disappears way too early), as well as a superbly sinister turn from Terence Stamp as a big-hitting Adjustor brought in to finish the job.

Nolfi keeps things moving at a decent pace throughout, even when the action skips forwards several years. This is augmented by several simple but enjoyable visual effects, such as the doors that provide shortcuts to many different locations, providing you're wearing a special hat.

The Bad
The only real complaint is that the film foregrounds the romance at the expense of exploring its intriguingly weighty themes of Free Will vs Fate and the ending is vaguely unsatisfying as a result.

Worth seeing?
The Adjustment Bureau is an enjoyable sci-fi thriller-slash-romance that's worth seeing for the astonishing chemistry between the two leads alone. Recommended.

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The Adjustment Bureau (12A)
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Content updated: 26/09/2015 06:23

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