Friday, March 4, 2011

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Terence Stamp


"Your fate has been adjusted"


Cinema 6, SM Megamall



This sci-fi romance is the directorial debut of George Nolfi. A screenwriter of such films as "Ocean's 12" and "The Bourne Ultimatum", he adapted this film from a short story by Philip K. Dick entitled "The Adjustment Team". Nolfi deviated from the original story by casting Matt Damon as a politician instead of an insurance salesman.

The film starts with David Norris (Matt Damon) as a young politician running to represent New York in Congress. Nolfi conveys all this in a brisk opening montage that enlists the services of Jon Stewart and various pundits to lend credence with the feel of a real campaign trail. David's first attempt is not successful but it leads him to a brief, but life-altering encounter with a mysterious stranger named Elise (Emily Blunt) in the men's room just before he delivers his concession speech.

Yet unfortunately David's fate doesn't include the presence of Elise in his life. A plan has been pre-designed for David's destiny and it is strictly being enforced by fedora wearing men in suits carrying some interactive notebook. These group of men who can weave through the streets of New York by entering different doors try everything with their strange powers to manipulate David's life. They must make sure that David gets to fulfill his chosen role.

Nothing much is revealed about these people. Or why and how they go about their procedure. One of them just says "we are the people who make sure things go according to plan." Who is directing these plans are likewise not divulged. They could be angels or members of the CIA but they are the godlike manipulators who dictate the way of the world.

Be that as may, we must also take into consideration the fact that at the core of this film is a budding romance between David and Elise. I know it is a bit difficult to ignore these men with hats. But somewhere deep within the recesses of my mind I simply chose to focus on the romantic aspect instead of the existential sci-fi elements present in the film. David and Elise look good together, they bring out the best in each other so you can't help but root for them to find each other again and stay together never mind that fate seems to think otherwise.

Matt Damon has always had solid performances in most of his films. While Emily has blossomed and come into her own persona. A long way from her short secretary role in "The Devil wears Prada". They work well together, their rapport is palpable. They are joined by good actors in supporting roles like Anthony Mackie, John Slattery and Terence Stamp. Their portrayal of the members of the bureau were authentic even though you can't really figure out who they are or what they stand for.

The Adjustment Bureau was an odd, fascinating story which I thoroughly enjoyed. I could identify with the way the romance unfolded. It was unique in that it completely strips the film of its sci-fi trappings by making it into a love story, and a rather moving one at that.

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