The Adjustment Bureau is George Nolfi‘s directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s story, starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Terence Stamp and in a cameo Jennifer Ehle.
David Norris (Matt Damon) is a very promising young politician. He meets Elise (Emily Blunt) and they’re immediately attracted to each other. But something seems to be keeping them apart. As David is soon to find out, it’s not just fate: There’s a whole organisation – The Adjustment Bureau – that makes sure that things happen according to plan. And David’s plan has him without Elise. But David can’t accept that.
The Adjustment Bureau is well-paced and well-acted but the religious overtones of the story just got a little too much for me. Still, it’s very enjoyable.
I hadn’t read the original story before seeing the film but I have in the meantime. There’s not much left that they have in common apart from the general idea of the Adjustment Bureau [though the casual misogyny in Dick’s story kinda lives on in the complete lack of women in the Adjustment Bureau – what the hell?]. The worldbuilding in the story is a little less elaborate but the adjustment process with everything crumbling to dust is more detailed. [And I would have loved to seen that on the big screen.] I loved the whole dogs are Summoners thing – I’m sorry that they didn’t use that in the film.
In any case the film does some nice worldbuilding with the doors and the hats etc. But the whole talk of the Chairman that appears to everyone in some form of another and yadda yadda just made me want to retch. In Dick’s story you can disregard the religious element mostly. In the film you get hit over the head with it at every possible turn.
That I could still enjoy the film (I just don’t handle preachiness very well) is mostly due to Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, who work very well as a couple and give good performances. You root for them a whole lot, the script treats them well and you could completely understand why David would fall in love with Elise after seeing her dance – so much awesome right there. But the guys from the Adjustment Bureau were great too. Terence Stamp did his usual thing, John Slattery was wonderful and Anthony Mackie should be in more films in general (looking at his imdb profile he’s getting there).
I was also impressed by Nolfi as a director, especially the pacing is spot-on and the story pulls you in and never lags.
Summarising: If you are prepared for/don’t mind the religiousness, you’ll enjoy the film.