By Matt Brunson
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
DIRECTED BY George Nolfi
STARS Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
One person's religious beliefs is often another person's existentialist theories, and The Adjustment Bureau offers plenty of theological fodder to go around. Because it tinkers around with notions involving God and chance and destiny and all that other stuff that's fun to discuss whether under or over the influence, it might turn off those types of folks who badly misunderstood Martin Scorsese's brilliant and heartfelt Christian ode, The Last Temptation of Christ. Other viewers, however, might appreciate the movie's ability to question omniscient authority with the proper mix of reverence and reflection.
Based on a short story by Hollywood's go-to sci-fi author Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Minority Report, etc.), this stars Matt Damon as aspiring U.S. senator David Norris, who, on the night of a humbling defeat, meets promising dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). The pair are instantly attracted to one another, but David soon learns from the members of a shadowy cabal that they are never meant to be together. But these imposing figures in long coats and hats aren't just any muscle men they're actually spiritual beings who help keep our world in balance by following the orders of the so-called "Chairman." But David refuses to accept his fate, leading the ethereal enforcers to resort to strong-arm tactics to contain the situation.
The film's notion that true love conquers all would fall flat with the wrong leads, but Damon and Blunt possess a lovely, laid-back chemistry that allows us to believe in their union. Because their casting is so apt, The Adjustment Bureau often feels like a romantic yarn first and a fantasy flick second, with some nifty chase sequences thrown in for good measure. And that's fine, because viewers who potentially might analyze the spiritual slant and find it lacking can at least take comfort in the fact they spent their money on an affecting love story.