Most helpful positive review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sci-fi with a romantic twist or vice versa?
on July 13, 2011
The Adjustment Bureau is a fun, stylish film that manages to blend a sci-fi premise with a Mad Men-like aesthetic (even including John Slattery of the popular TV series in its cast). Based on a short story by Philip K Dick, The Adjustment Bureau is miles away from other movies based on the author's work. Unlike Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report (based on Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", "We'll Remember It for You Wholesale", and "The Minority Report" respectively), this film focuses primarily on the relationship between the two main characters rather than action sequences and the fantastic new world in which those sequences take place. In fact, The Adjustment Bureau takes place in a contemporary setting, with only a few sartorial details (like an unusual number of black fedoras) to indicate that things aren't entirely what they seem.
The story is of a young, up-and-coming (or flash in the pan?) politician named David and played by Matt Damon, who meets a young dancer named Elise and played by Emily Blunt. They are attracted to each other, almost despite themselves, but, as they initiate a relationship, mysterious forces in the guise of suited, hat-wearing men in black conspire to keep them apart.
I haven't read the source material, titled "The Adjustment Team", so I can't say if the focus on character rather than premise is present in the original or entirely the work of writer-director George Nolfi. Either way, it is a nice touch. The chemistry between Damon and Blunt is perfect and we find ourselves wanting to spend more time with them, sci-fi premise be damned. It's good that this is the case, not only because it makes the movie a pleasure to watch, but because it is absolutely integral to the plot that we, the audience, believe and agree that these two belong together, even if they've only met a few times and have barely even had a proper date.
Personally, I think it worked, and the more fantastic elements of the movie manage to inject what would be a pleasant but unoriginal love story with a little new blood, turning into what could be viewed as a sort of techno-fairy tale.