DIR/WRI: George Nolfi • PRO: Bill Carraro, Michael Hackett, Chris Moore, George Nolfi • DOP: John Toll • ED: Jay Rabinowitz • DES: Kevin Thompson • Cast: Matt Damon, Natalie Carter, Jon Stewart
Bourne meets Inception. No wait it’s more complicated than that. More complicated than Inception? Let’s start over. The Adjustment Bureau is a story about true love conquering all. It’s the story of politician David Norris (Matt Damon) who falls head over heels for ballerina Elise (Emily Blunt) and must triumph over his destiny to be with her. What separates this from other love stories is that fate is personified by the dapperly dressed Adjustment Bureau who shadow humanity making tiny adjustments – a spilt coffee here, a missed bus there – which direct our lives according to their pre-ordained ‘Plan’. Norris stumbles on the Bureau mid-adjustment and they are forced to explain what they do while swearing him to secrecy as outing them would have dire consequences. When they explain being with the girl of his dreams is not part of his future, Norris has to risk it all to change his fate.
The attempt to pigeon hole the film can be attributed to Matt Damon teaming up again with George Nolfi, who wrote the screenplay for The Bourne Ultimatum and here adapts and directs a Philip K. Dick short story Adjustment Team. Dick’s work has previously been adapted into some of cinema’s greatest sci-fi films including Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report so the comparison to Inception is not entirely unfair.
Nolfi has taken full advantage of Dick’s short story as a canvas to craft a truly wonderful romance which exploits all of Matt Damon’s natural charisma to woo Emily Blunt and the audience. The pair’s chemistry is immediately clear on-screen and justifies the lengths they go to be together. The supporting cast of Bureau agents are equally impressive with Mad Men‘s John Slattery immediately at home in his fedora along with The Hurt Locker‘s Anthony Mackie and the gloriously weathered face of Terence Stamp.
If the romance isn’t enough to draw you in there is plenty otherwise to admire. New York is easily as important to the film as any other character and as our lovers are chased across the city the camera takes the time to breathe in the city itself and you can’t help but fall for its charms. The film features upwards of eighty locations and wonderful architectural examples of Beaux-Arts and Art Deco among them.
The Adjustment Bureau is an achievement of skyscraper proportions. Nolfi is hugely impressive in his directorial debut with this pacey, charming and aesthetically pleasing pursuit through New York. The star quality of Matt Damon is put to excellent use and Emily Blunt is adorable as a free spirited ballerina. Book a ticket and hope you don’t miss the bus.
IFCO website for details)
The Adjustment Bureau is released on 4th March 2011