The Adjustment Bureau is at its core a film that contrasts the ideas of free will and predetermined fate. On the surface, it’s a romance between a prospective Congressman and a ballerina. Their love grows after a series of chance encounters, but an anonymous group intervenes. This mysterious organization keeps everyone on his-or-her individually pre-determined tracks. The movie then has the couple fight back against this organization in order to secure their being together.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt star as the lead characters in this science-fiction romance. Damon plays David Norris, a Congressional candidate who meets a dancer named Elise (Blunt) in a men’s washroom by accident. After this brief meeting, David was never supposed to see Elise again. However, he glances her from a bus, and he decides to track her down as no one had ever made an impression on someone like she had. But the organization shows itself to David, explaining to him that if they pursue a relationship, it not only wrecks his dreams, but it destroys her dancing career as well.
David is, as many Hollywood protagonists are, driven to fight this alleged destiny out of the hope that he will see her again. He feels a special bond with Elise, and despite being told it will wreck both of their dreams, David continuously wishes to be with her. The motivation of love is one that propels the story in many films, and it is done quite well here. The love shared between David and Elise is subtly done and doesn’t overpower the story.
As a science-fiction film, The Adjustment Bureau deals with a seemingly invincible alternate reality that allows quick teleportation using regular doorways. The only thing is that one must be wearing a special fedora, and must have the knowledge to access these portals properly. However, the implications of such a platform of reality are not explored in The Adjustment Bureau. If they were, the film would be closer to achieving greatness, instead the filmmakers try to play it safe and focus on the romance, which is still entertaining, but hardly thought provoking.
The problem with The Adjustment Bureau is that despite being based on an interesting foundation, the film amounts to be a little dull. The script simply doesn’t work in enough interactions between the characters, and the build up and climax don’t draw the audiences in the way that it should. Otherwise, it is an entertaining film and I enjoyed it, but it won’t stand the test of time compared to other films with more depth and slightly higher entertainment value.