The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

Posted: June 14, 2011 in Hollywood
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The Adjustment Bureau


The affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart. –IMDb


George Nolfi


George Nolfi (screenplay), Philip K. Dick (short story “Adjustment Team”)


Matt DamonEmily Blunt and Florence Kastriner


 Romance | Sci-Fi | Thriller


¨All I have are the choices I make, and I choose her, come what may.¨ Ever since Adam and Eve we’ve never liked to be told what to do, but what would happen if all our decisions were somehow manipulated by some sort of power to make us act in a certain way without us not even realizing it? In other words, we think we have free will and we believe we make our own choices, but what if someone was making small adjustments behind our backs to make sure we followed a certain path? Those are the questions The Adjustment Bureau raises in this science-fiction romantic movie. Rookie director, George Nolfi (known for writing Ocean’s Twelve and adapting the screenplay for The Bourne Ultimatum), does a great job at combining two unrelated genres such as science- fiction and romance and meshing them together to create this decent film.

Matt Damon plays a young politician named David Norris, running for Senator in New York. On election night while he is preparing his defeat speech he runs into Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) in the men’s restroom. There is a strong instant chemistry between them and they share a passionate kiss together, but are suddenly interrupted by security guards who were looking for Elise because she got caught crashing a wedding in the same building. David is so inspired by the kiss that he gives one of his best and most authentic speeches ever, but he can’t stop thinking of Elise. Everything isn’t what it seems and there are some mysterious people behind the scenes making sure everyone is following the right path. Richardson (John Slattery) and Harry (Anthony Mackie) have been following David everywhere and seem to know what decisions he is going to make and they try to manipulate them. We later find out that they work for a mysterious agency known as the Adjustment Bureau, who make adjustments in order to keep people on track so they won’t deviate from the intended plan. David and Elise are not intended to be with each other, it isn’t written on the books for them so Harry is ordered to keep him away from her so he will continue on the ¨right path.¨ Something goes wrong and the two meet again, only this time the agents have to make amends and end up telling David who they really are. David isn’t willing to go along with the plan because he believes in free will, so the agency has to bring out their big gun, Thompson (Terence Stamp), in order for the pair to break up. The question now is: can love conquer predestination?

Stills of Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau


The movie isn’t deep, but it does manage to leave you thinking quite a bit, and that is always a plus. It is original and intense. It also raises questions about free will, fate, soul mates, and predestination. We’d like to believe that all our decisions are based entirely on our free will, but even we admit that sometimes coincidences take place: for example we get on the wrong bus and run into someone we haven’t seen in a long time. The Adjustment Bureau claims these ¨accidents¨ are actually planned most of the time and they serve to keep their subjects on the right path in order to fulfill their purpose.


The premise is good but the delivery poor, I liked the idea of a bureau that controls world destiny, but the dudes I saw in the movie could have been more slick more bad ass, when I finally settled down to accepting what was on the plate I realized half way through that nothing big was going to happen the story is simply about the bureau trying to keep Blunt’s and Damon’s characters apart. That was its main flaw. It din’t have any twist at the end or anything BIG happening. And also the romance though its beautiful, I just din’t understand how someone can fall in love so quickly so easily. These are the only problems with the movie.


Yet it is oddly enjoyable, since it is less a piece of science fiction than an old-fashioned romance between an aspiring politician and a successful dancer. Each of the leads is immensely watchable and genuinely talented and together they create real chemistry.


A pretty decent low key SF film. Nothing great, nothing earth shattering. But, if you want a break from all the action movies masquerading as SF, it’s worth catching. I rate it 6 out of 10 for the original concept and performances.

Watch the trailer…


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