The Adjustment Bureau Review
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Generally speaking, the first part of the year isn’t exactly a hotbed of noteworthy films. But, every once in a while during this typically dreary time of year, Hollywood throws a curveball—one that will actually make moviegoers stop and think for a change. This year’s thought-provoking surprise is writer and first-time director George Nolfi’s romantic thriller, The Adjustment Bureau.

Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick (whose stories have led to movies like Minority Report and Blade Runner), The Adjustment Bureau follows a young politician as he fights for the love of his life.

David Norris (Matt Damon) is at the end of an unsuccessful Senate campaign when he first meets Elise (Emily Blunt). They have an instant connection—and she inspires him to make one of the most memorable speeches of his political career. But she runs off before he can even get her name.

By chance, they end up on the same bus soon afterward—and David is thrilled to get his dream girl’s name and number. But they weren’t supposed to see each other again. Their encounter was an accident—one that could change the pre-determined path for David’s life, unless a mysterious man in a hat can get him back on course. It should take just a simple adjustment or two—but David doesn’t want his life to be adjusted. He wants to be with Elise.

After a couple of months of new releases ranging from lame comedies to brainless thrillers, The Adjustment Bureau is certainly a welcome shock to the system, blending action and romance with hints of fantasy, philosophy, and religion to create a clever story that’s sure to spark plenty of discussion and debate about things like fate and free will on the way home from the theater.

That’s not to say, though, that The Adjustment Bureau is a profoundly deep, intellectual film—the kind that only philosophy students can enjoy. At its core, it’s still just a movie about a guy fighting fate to be with the woman he loves. It’s hopelessly romantic, but it’s also mysterious and suspenseful. And if you’re just looking for some action and adventure to liven up your weekend, you’ll find that it’s pretty easy to ignore the story’s crisscrossing philosophies and simply sit back and enjoy its clever twists. The mysterious men of the Adjustment Bureau are constantly getting in the way of David’s plans—and their not-so-subtle sabotage definitely keeps things interesting.

At the same time, Damon and Blunt create such charming characters—he the smooth-talking yet strangely genuine young politician and she the impulsive dancer—and they have such effortless chemistry that it’s hard not to get caught up in their story.

Though it isn’t quite as thrilling (or as intricately detailed) as Christopher Nolan’s Inception—and some of the twists and philosophies may leave you scratching your head in the end—but after months of dim-witted adventures, The Adjustment Bureau is a refreshingly smart romantic thriller.

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