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Movie Review

The Adjustment Bureau

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Director: George Nolfi

Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie,Shohreh Aghdashloo, Michael Kelly, John Slattery, Terence Stamp and Anthony Ruivivar.

Duration: 124 minutes

Certificate 12A

1 of 5 Career vs love
Career vs love
2 of 5 An adaptation of Phillip K Dick's short story Adjustment Team
An adaptation of Phillip K Dick's short story Adjustment Team
3 of 5 There's real chemistry between Blunt and Damon
There's real chemistry between Blunt and Damon
4 of 5 Combines two genres, the sci-fi thriller and the romantic drama
Combines two genres, the sci-fi thriller and the romantic drama
5 of 5 Stamp plays an Adjustment Bureau bigwig
Stamp plays an Adjustment Bureau bigwig

The stories of cult sci-fi writer Phillip K Dick have resulted in some of the most popular films of their genre. The likes of 'Blade Runner', 'Total Recall', 'Minority Report' and 'Paycheck' have all translated well from page to screen. Though director Nolfi is making his directorial debut, he feels brave enough to take Dick's 1954 short story, 'Adjustment Team', and give it a modern spin.

Thus 'The Adjustment Bureau' begins with Matt Damon as young Congressional candidate David Norris (I know) getting ready to make his concessionary speech as yet another press story about his hell-raising days seems to have scuppered his political prospects.

In a classic meet-cute scenario that wouldn't look out of place in a Screwball film from the 1930s, Damon's character meets a young dancer (played by Emily Blunt) and there is an instant attraction between the two before she is chased out of the gents toilets (don't ask) and seemingly out of his life forever. A chance encounter on a bus throws the two together again but this is not their fate and a team of sharp-dressed men in trilby hats (including 'Mad Men's John Slattery) reveal to a distraught Matt that young Ms Blunt is not destined to be a part of his future; a future that just might involve a residency in The White House. Forced to choose between ambition and love, Matt's character chooses the latter and the scene is set for a race-against time thriller.

It's a brave move by Nolfi to combine two genres, the sci-fi thriller and the romantic drama, but he just about manages to pull it off for two reasons. The first is his skill as a screenwriter (he's the guy behind 'The Bourne Ultimatum' and it was his friendship with Damon that got him the gig). The second is the undoubted chemistry between the two leads. You really do believe Damon when he announces: "All I have are the choices I make; and I choose her." Blunt, for her part, proves herself a fine romantic leading lady and this movie should help propel her up the A-list. And watch out for the ageless Terence Stamp as an Adjustment Bureau bigwig.

Yes, there are holes in the plot, and yes, the narrative does creak at times, but overall, 'The Adjustment Bureau' is one of those rare films that will appeal to fans of smart sci-fi thrillers such as 'Inception', and still draw in the romantic drama couples who will get caught up in the love story between Matt and Emily.

It's all a matter of fate.

Michael Doherty

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