Is it a love story? Is it science fiction? Is it a thrilling chase movie?

These are the sort of questions you will be asking yourself when you step out of the cinema having taken in this latest slice of mind-bending Philip K Dick material (well, I did anyway).

And truth be told, this effort pretty much straddles the genres, with every time the film looks as though it is sliding into a groove a jar takes us in a new direction.

But that is a good thing, leading to a thoroughly enjoyable movie that is every bit as entertaining as I had hoped.

The story wastes little time in getting going – Matt Damon plays David Norris, a congressman aiming to become senator for New York.

After a failed election campaign, Norris scuttles in the gents to prepare his concession speech, only to bump into Emily Blunt, a dancer who happened to be crashing a wedding at the same venue.

There is immediate chemistry, leading to Damon taking his life in a new direction.

However, what Damon and Blunt’s characters do not know is that their chance meeting, and pretty much everything else in their lives, is being orchestrated and watched over by The Adjustment Bureau, a shadowy group who make sure that everything goes exactly to plan in their world order.

As far as the Bureau is concerned that is that, but when Damon bumps into Blunt on a bus months later after a Bureau suit dozes off on the job, sparks fly again and suddenly their lives are deviating from the Bureau’s designs’.

The simple fact is they were not meant to meet again, but Damon (who learns what is going on), decides to take on the Bureau as he battles to prove there is such a thing as free will.

This is a film that very much lives or dies by the relationship between the two leads and the good news is Damon and Blunt bounce off each other really well.

You genuinely believe that Damon would risk everything for Blunt’s Elise Sellas, and that adds a real urgency to proceedings.

It also does help if you like the talent involved and being a fan of Damon (for his acting) and Blunt (for her hotness) this always had a good chance of succeeding in my book.

But there is plenty more to savour here, from the shadowy Bureau themselves (who include Terence Stamp, John Slattery and Anthony Mackie among their number), to the Adjustment trick of being able to enter a door and exit in a completely different location (leading to an exciting chase finale through New York).

Yes, people may complain that there is too much romance, or not enough sci-fi, but for a genre geek like myself who likes to think he has a romantic bone tucked away somewhere in his body director George Nolfi does a great job.

And, as far as I am concerned, The Adjustment Bureau more than deserves to be bracketed with the other classic Dick adaptations like Blade Runner and Total Recall – it really is that good.

 

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.