The Adjustment Bureau
After the general release and praise of Inception, film studios began to understand the importance of having a blockbuster film with originality and intellect. Due to this understanding, a large amount of films were marketed towards an audience which appreciated Nolan’s achievement. The Adjustment Bureau was one of those films from Universal Studios, attempting to capture interest with slogans such as “Bourne meets Inception!” and cleverly edited trailers, using the same techniques which were employed for Inception‘s marketing.
The film had an intriguing set-up, which tells the story of two lovers whose fate was not to be determined by themselves, but by a strange group of suits called the Adjustment Team. Loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s short story, Adjustment Team, a US Congressman is attempting to run for the US Senate. He is David Norris, a man who has never had a real connection with any person up until he meets Elisa Sellas, a mysterious and charming woman who he encounters whilst he rehearses an important speech in a public bathroom. There’s an obvious chemistry between them, but their embrace unfortunately doesn’t last long. A slight interruption breaks them apart, only for David to abruptly discover her during a bus journey the following morning.
Everything seems kosher, up until the moment the Adjustment Team get involved in their new found relationship. Their task is to make sure that the human race follow their correct paths, as certain fates have already been determined for them by a higher force. For some reason, David and Elise shouldn’t be together – so it’s up to them to make sure they never fall in love with each other. However, David is adamant on being with Elise, which makes the situation much harder for the suits.
The premise works surprisingly well. Blending romance and science-fiction together seamlessly, The Adjustment Bureau pulls off a convincing, heartfelt story with a neat sci-fi edge. It never concentrates too hard on either of the two and it doesn’t falter when explaining the much needed details concerning the suits, which are at hand to adjust David’s fate accordingly.
Matt Damon is one actor who never fails to impress, and here his acting chops are on show. Bewildered by the new happenings that surround him, he still manages to focus his attention on Elise. He presents us a man who still believes in the concept of love, whose strength and intelligence leads him onto the correct path. Emily Blunt manages to maintain the look and feel of a strange, excitable woman brilliantly. The pair feed off each other effortlessly, as the chemistry helps evolve their on-screen romance. Blunt manages her character so well, that it’s a wonder as to why she just doesn’t appear in more films.
The action never slows down and manages to pace itself fluidly throughout, reaching a climactic ending scene which is a delight to witness. The film plays with the general idea of an omnipotent God, but it never truly explores that theme. The director George Nolfi, hoped that the film just raised general questions, about a particular higher force and the discussion of fate vs. free will.
There’s no doubt about the fact that The Adjustment Bureau is an intelligent film, boasting with its own artistic style and ideas. So perhaps the marketing team knew what they were doing. Inception may have bred a new slew of films with a high-concept attached to them. Thankfully, this one pays off as a film which brilliantly manages to attach two different genres together for an engaging, thought provoking experience.