A New York senatorial candidate (Matt Damon) meets the woman of his dreams (Emily Blunt) and is willing to throw away everything to be with her. One problem: The Adjustors, sharply dressed and usually invisible figures who control the outcome of, well, everything. In this case, their mission is to keep the two love birds apart.
The Adjustment Bureau poses an interesting, age-old question: given the choice between a perfect plan for your life and an unknown but enticing fate, which would you pick?
The screenplay is based on Adjustment Team, a short story by the late, great Philip K. Dick, though it owes as much to an episode of The Twilight Zone called “A Manner of Minutes,” about a married couple who discover workers that exist between seconds and shape every moment of time. Here, we’re given intriguing clues as to who The Adjusters might be: angels, demons, government workers? The logic of their abilities (and the logic of the movie) are a bit sketchy—they can telepathically manipulate objects but are unable to outrun Matt Damon. Then again, no one can catch Jason Bourne.
Originally scheduled to open last summer, this quirky, low-key and at times funny thriller is a rarity—a love story with ideas. There are chase scenes, particularly during the exciting climax, but this isn’t an action movie. The special effects are topnotch, but this isn’t another 3D f/x fest. And, while the story is preposterous, with a little suspension of disbelief the movie offers plenty of food for thought.
Characters are surrounded by vast empty spaces, emphasizing the choices that envelop them. Most importantly, Damon and Blunt have a touching chemistry; their dialogue and scenes together have a playfulness and comic bite that feels almost improvised. You genuinely want them to end up together.
The trailer makes this look like an elaborate brain-teaser on the scale of Inception. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you go in expecting a down-to-earth character study, a sci-fi romance with heart to balance the silliness, you’ll have made the right choice.