Synopsis: Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he’s ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)-a woman like none he’s ever known. But just as he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself-the men of The Adjustment Bureau-who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path…or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her. The Adjustment Bureau is written for the screen and directed by George Nolfi (writer of Ocean’s Twelve, co-writer of The Bourne Ultimatum). It is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (“Total Recall,” “Minority Report” and “Blade Runner”).
Release Date: March 4, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Thriller, Drama
It’s a romance! For adults! Who like science fiction, even when it delves into the existence of there being a higher power who makes all of the decisions. This science fiction romantic (almost thriller) effortlessly works, thanks to the chemistry and likability of its two main characters, David Norris (Matt Damon) and Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), and the wonderful directing choices made by George Nolfi.
David Norris is about to concede an election in the Senate and he needs a few minutes alone. What he gets is by far one of the best meet-cutes ever in cinema. David has just met Elise, in the men’s bathroom; she is hiding after getting caught crashing a wedding. The sparks between them immediately fly and her quick wit, feisty and wholeheartedly honest conversation is just what David has been in serious need of on this night, and maybe his entire life. Their time is short but impressionable as they part ways. He goes on to make the greatest speech of his career, she runs down the stairs in an effort to elude security and make an escape. David and Elise were meant to meet on this night, but in their respective “plans” it was never to happen again. The group of people who are to make certain they never see each other again are the adjustment bureau. Men who wear bowler hats and perfectly tailored suits more fitting in another era. They work for the Chairman, a person/thing/something who makes the decisions as to how someone’s life will play out, or at least nudges them in the general direction. Yes, we are dealing with a God-like figure but the religious undertones are subtle enough to not offend and the story would not logically work any other way. One mistake by agent (angel) Harry (Anthony Mackie) and oh no, David and Elise meet again. The ripple effects are now in full motion and the thrill that comes with this film begins to show its existence.
The second encounter of David and Elise meeting is not by chance as it was foreseen by the Chairman. As with any well thought out plan things do not always go as intended, as the adjustment bureau knows very well in their line of work. Taking the necessary measures to make sure David and Elise never meet again they must reveal themselves to David and make him understand a relationship with Elise is not going to happen. Chance, or fate, whatever you want to call it has very different plans. Over the course of time Elise and David will meet again, and there will be consequences for both. Reason vs. emotion plays a very large part in the decisions David makes when he must choose his path to be with her or without. Elise is left primarily without a choice as she is unaware of the existence of the adjustment bureau. In her mind she has free will, whereas David knows they only have the appearance of free will. Something that will definitely resonate with the viewer as you yourself consider if everything that happens in your own life is purely chance, if it is meant to be, or fated. Questions that bode well for romance of the adult nature. In the end the leap of faith Elise must take to trust David in order to find their future is of an epic love story proportion. I must admit the ending feels slightly rushed and much of what logically should be revealed to Elise prior to their adrenaline fueled run is left unanswered but she leads with her heart, not her mind, and it is with that that the story becomes greater than two people fighting to be together.
Screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Sentinel, Timeline) shows incredible promise with his first feature debut in the directing chair. Blending classic science fiction narrative with a complex adult themed romance The Adjustment Bureau pleases. His direction of actors Matt Damon (David) and Emily Blunt (Elise) turns their characters into more than simply a couple of love struck pawns in a much greater planned existence but people who break through the surface level to reveal a deeper base of character development even amidst a script that has the more curt language of the book it is from adapted from, Adjustment Team by Philip K. Dick. The adjustment bureau themselves have the haunting presence one would expect from a group of men who can change one’s life in an instant but the tone is kept light by balancing this intensity with a comic caper path. The serious nature of the philosophical ideas buried in the story are always in plain view but it is the careful direction to keep the film optimistic amidst the heartbreak of forbidden love that makes it special. This achievement can only be attributed to a steady and clear mind when developing the story, something George Nolfi obviously has a gift for with screenwriting as well as directing.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): George NolfiChris MooreGeorge Nolfi
- Producer(s): George Nolfi
- Screenwriter(s): Matt Damon (David Norris)Emily Blunt (Elise Sellas)John Slattery (Richardson)
- Story: Terence Stamp (Thompson)
- Cast: Anthony Mackie (Harry)Michael Kelly (Charlie Traynor) Jay RabinowitzJohn TollKevin Thompson
- Cinematographer: Thomas Newman
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA