I was more than willing to accept the premise of “The Adjustment Bureau”, simply because I’m a huge fan of films that deal with fate and destiny. The main issue here is that there is a “plan”, that nothing happens by chance, and more importantly: free will is a comfortable illusion. It’s an intriguing thought if you ask me, and the movie has all the right ingredients to keep us focused and interested, even in moments of doubt. There’s also a lot of action involved, and a storybook romance in which the two lovers have actually great chemistry together. Back to our premise, Matt Damon plays David Norris, a young New York congressman running for senate. But his campaign goes off the tracks when the New York post publishes a sensational story across the front page about a prank he commited many years ago. On the night of his concession speech, he bumps into Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), an attractive young woman hiding from security in the men’s room after she crashed a wedding. It is almost love at first sight, until she is chased out of the building by security without giving Norris her phone number. Later on, they meet again on a bus, and she finally gives him her number. Their relationship seems to be heading in the right direction, until four mysterious looking men enter the picture. Their identity is never revealed, but we do learn that they are enforcers for someone called the chairman. These enforcers have been with us throughout the entire human history, making sure things go “according to plan”. But to reveal more about the story would be unthinkable, so I’m just going to leave it at that.
One of the best things about the movie is that this crazy idea is set against a realistic backdrop. The science-fiction side of things is well handled, and never threatens to overwhelm the heart of the movie, which is the incredibly believable relationship between David and Elise. Damon and Blunt are both likable and terrific; they definitely give us rooting interest, and that’s always essential in movies like this one. The film is also nicely shot on location; first time director George Nolfi makes good use of New York, filming everywhere from Brooklyn to the Museum of Modern Art. All that’s missing though is a dramatic impact, and a fitting finale. But I guess that would be asking too much, especially when the film brilliantly succeeded in keeping me interested almost the entire time. And because of that, I would still recommend “The Adjustment Bureau”. It’s a well crafted, stylish movie, and as far as entertainment goes, it works like a charm.