The Adjustment Bureau Review

I’m a fan of Philip K Dick, or the Dickster as I am sure he would have been called by his friends – there have been some great films based on his stories, like Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report. Ben Affleck – the tedious charisma vacuum – was in one recently called Paycheck and it wasn’t especially good and now it’s his buddy Matt Damon’s turn. I’m a fan of Matt Damon as well and I much prefer him to a lot of typical Hollywood leading men, there’s something about his goofy affable face and the way he can say complicated dialogue and seem like he might not only have understood it but might actually have thought it up himself that works well. I’ve not seen Emily Blunt in anything before – or at least nothing that I remember her being in – but she is also good.

One thing I liked was that Emily Blunt’s character Elise actually had a personality. Matt Damon’s politician David Norris decides to risk everything so he can be with her but at least I can understand why. So often in these films the love interest is just a vastly blank-faced dullard (a veritable Ben Affleck) that it really doesn’t seem worth the risk, or they exchange so few words that the whirlwind romance is completely inexplicable. But Elise does more than just panic and stare at things with pretty confusion waiting to be rescued (although she does do a bit of this I suppose you can’t really blame her) and was actually quite funny and endearing (except for the Blackberry in the coffee which frankly was insane, it’s a good thing David Norris wasn’t an iPhone fanatic or he would have lost his shit). I just want Matt Damon to be happy.

But eager to prevent his happiness we have the villains of the piece: the magical hat wearing Adjustment team chaps. It’s hard to explain just who they are but it doesn’t seem all that bizarre when you are watching it, although it does lead to some great dialogue like ‘he’s got a hat and he’s entered the substrate’. It’s rare that you see a film where hats are a key plot device but then the film does feature some really great hats – even if they don’t really suit Matt Damon. I wish I had a great hat. There is a lot of dramatic chasing and a lot of puzzling about what is going on in the Matrix-like peak behind the curtains of the real world. I like both those things and it was enough to keep me interested throughout, even though the basic mystery is explained really quickly there is still enough that you don’t understand to keep you watching. And there are some great ‘fiddling with reality’ scenes which were kind of like if Agent Smith was less murderous and more of an irritating prankster.

The strangest thing about this film is that Morgan Freeman doesn’t play the Chairman. Throughout the film the mysterious, godlike Chairman is mentioned and frankly films just don’t seem very realistic if there is a deity and it isn’t played by Morgan Freeman. If there is a heaven and I somehow blag my way in I completely expect to discover Morgan Freeman sat behind a mahogany desk being insufferably smug, saying wise sounding nonsense and half-smiling knowingly. Terrance Stamp is in the film but he doesn’t achieve much, except he manages to run through Narnia doors and wear magical hats while retaining his dignity and gravitas so there’s that.

Speaking of the Chairman, I did appreciate the little game you get at the end of the film – I think I spotted him/her but I won’t spoil it. More films should have little games at the end.

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