Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, men in hats, political drama, fate and free will. “The Adjustment Bureau” combines these elements and questions the amount of control people have over their lives.
“The Adjustment Bureau” is based on a short story written by Philip K. Dick, who is best known for writing “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and “The Minority Report.”
Within the first minutes of the film, we learn that New Yorker David Norris (Matt Damon) is about to lose his campaign for Senate.
While practicing his losing speech, he runs into Elise (Emily Blunt), and the two instantly share a magnetic attraction ““ evident in the kiss they share after only talking for a couple of minutes.
Though their kiss seems sudden and out of place, it suggests that there is a greater destiny at work that compels them toward each other. Besides, Damon and Blunt’s on-screen chemistry makes it slightly less awkward.
After Elise reappears in David’s life, the men in suits and fedoras from the Adjustment Bureau intervene to ensure that nothing deviates from the plan.
The “plan” is a series of lines, resembling a blueprint, based on David making a predictable series of choices that will further his set path in life.
Any deviations from the plan threaten his potential greatness as a politician.
Once bureau agent Richardson (John Slattery) threatens to “reset” David, or erase his memory entirely, the movie takes on an idea similar to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which questions love’s impact on someone’s life.
From this point onward, David has to struggle against the men in suits to find Elise and keep her in his life plan.
While Damon’s performance is enjoyable and believable, some of the film’s concepts border on the ridiculous and deserve the audience’s laughter.
The bureau agents can’t predict David’s thoughts when he is surrounded by water, for example, and the agents can only use shortcuts from door to door when they are wearing their fedoras.
The ability to enter one door and travel to a completely different location of the city is similar to the concept of entering another dream, as in “Inception,” but “The Adjustment Bureau” fails to create the detailed world of “Inception.”
Instead of focusing on plot intricacy, “The Adjustment Bureau” contemplates the power of free will and how David’s decisions change the path of his life.
While “The Adjustment Bureau” presents the audience with heavy questions, including the influence of a higher power in everyday life, the movie is largely presented as a love story between David and Elise. Even though the film takes itself too seriously at some moments, it is altogether an enjoyable story.
“The Adjustment Bureau” has its flaws, but they are minor, and Blunt and Damon bring their own charismatic charm to their characters.
The film offers not just another Damon thrill ride, but also an imaginative and original storyline ““ something few contemporary movies possess.
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