As much as I respect Emily Blunt and Matt Damon as actors, I find The Adjustment Bureau an unpleasant experience. We are asked to believe that there could be an organization such as The Adjustment Bureau that monitors each individual's fate so that we stay on path. What path? To where? A metaphor for too much government control?
"We make things happen according to plan. We monitor the entire world, "Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie) says after David Norris (Matt Damon) is kidnapped, blindfolded and strapped in a stereotypical leather chair reminiscent of one that could be used to execute criminals. That chair that we've all seen repeatedly in interrogation scenes.
It all begins with David Norris who is running for the U.S. Senate and who just lost. He meets ballerina Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) accidentally when she is hiding in a men's room and they fall in love. At first sight. In a men's room running from a cardboard cut out criminal Harry Mitchell and his Adjustment Bureau, nefarious men who want to control David Norris who will run again for the Senate at which time they plan to have him programmed to do what they want and win so that they can 'rule the world'. Please. We've seen this before. Shades of Manchurian Candidate.
A few years pass and David Norris accidentally meets Elise on a bus and arranges to see her again, but The Adjustment Bureau blocks his attempts to see her. Enter Thompson played by the magnificent Terrance Stamp who exudes evil to a T, but even Stamp can't resurrect this turkey. He is Harry Mitchells' boss in the evil Adjustment Bureau and knows that if David Morris falls in love with her and they consummate their love with a passionate kiss, his group of henchmen will not be able to control David's mind or the nation's future.
Far-fetched? Yes? Manchurian Candidate? Yes. The idea that love conquers all is the plot of the film and flimsy as that.
Chases abound and are well filmed and have their own intensity, but when you realize you are merely along for the bogus ride, you feel a bit duped. New York is filmed mysteriously and creatively and the direction by George Nolfi is not the problem. It is the script. Which is silly yet we are supposed to believe sinister. George Nolfi wrote the adaptation of the screenplay from a short story by Phillip K. Dick titled The Adjustment Team.
Elise Sellas becomes a successful ballerina and has a dangerous fall. Elise dances with creative passion, but all your desire to care for the characters runs amok when you are required to think about the foolish plot. The Adjustment Bureau tries to frighten David Norris from rescuing her and seeing her in the hospital after this accident. Elise and David are bound with a crazy glue kind of love despite all the road blocks put up by the so-called sinister men blocking their union. Is their love part of fate? Or will The Adjustment Bureau be able to derail their dynamic duo of lust? You have to see the film to find out how it ends. If you can sit through it long enough to get to this point.