‘Adjustment Bureau’ Keeps Date with Destiny

Shearson Unda

Have you ever been the victim of someone telling you that you must live your life a certain way, even though you felt that fate and persistence allowed you to go on living life the way you wanted?

“The Adjustment Bureau,” does just that, using creative elements of science fiction with the added romantic idea, “love at first sight.” George Nolfi, who wrote “Ocean’s Twelve,” produced and directed “The Adjustment Bureau,” a film that displays a conflict of an individual’s fate with his personal values.

The movie begins with David Norris, played by Matt Damon (“The Bourne Ultimatum,” 2007), a very young politician running for the New York State Senate. Damon was an excellent choice for this role, as he suited Norris’ character, a man in his mid-20s. After realizing he is not going to win the senate race, Norris, on the verge of preparing a concession speech, awkwardly meets a female eavesdropping in the bathroom stall.

An upcoming ballet dancer, Elise Sellas, played by the beautiful young British actress Emily Blunt (“The Jane Austen Book Club,” 2007), stumbles upon Norris in the men’s restroom of the hotel the night of his speech. This encounter marks the beginning of the story of one man’s pursuit of happiness.

A group of well-dressed men in slacks, buttoned-up shirts and mysterious fedoras appear later. They are known as the “adjustment bureau.” The purpose of the group is to track down individuals who are not following the path of their predetermined destiny. The bureau refers to a higher power, known as “the chairman, “who never makes an appearance in the movie. He is the one who ultimately decides on the paths of the lives of and sends his bureau out to oversee that individuals follow their paths and correct any errors that individuals encounter.

The unique power the adjustment bureau possesses is the ability to transport from different areas throughout the greater New York via doorways just as long as they are wearing their fedoras.

The path Norris is destined to follow is altered while he is taking a bus ride to work and encounters Sellas. According to the adjustment bureau, the meeting between the two was never supposed to have taken place. The adjustment group alters the path of Norris’ life by kidnapping and ordering him to never speak to Sellas again. They vow that if he reveals the secret of the bureau, his memory will be permanently erased.

George Nolfi did an amazing job using the sites and views of the current New York City. The ability to transport from area to area in an urban setting will leave moviegoers feeling that events like this could actually happen in New York. The setting was wonderfully selected because of the endless amount of wonder behind the doors of New York City. Every door the bureau opens gives viewers a glimpse of the variety of beautiful sights the city had to offer.

The setting of the film also allows the mind to wander to the possible settings that can lay behind closed doors.

The film has a well-written story line and will leave the audience wondering who this group is and why they were selected to make such decisions. Two of the elder bureau members, Richardson and Thompson, played by John Slattery (“Flags of Our Fathers,” 2006) and Terence Stamp (“Valkyrie,” 2008), respectively, added a mafia-like style to their roles. Both gentlemen played high-ranking members of the bureau.

Because of the age of the actors there is a more authentic feel of the importance of the adjustment bureau.

The reference to “the chairman” gives viewers something to think about. The two references of the angel-like bureau and higher power seem to imply that there is a possible religious meaning behind this story. Although not directly stated, the job of the bureau was to make small adjustments in the characters’ lives, without their knowledge in order to continue their life’s path correctly.

This romantic, sci-fi action flick is one for the date night. The main actress, Sellas, selects a man she barely knows the one she was both engaged to and in love with. It exemplifies the determination of one man’s heart, that man being Matt Damon. The film lets the mind wander and gives light to those hopeless romantics, allowing one to feel that no matter what obstacles are put in the way, there will always be an open door that leads to another place.

The film is well-written from the beginning to right before the end. The effects of walking into a door in city and ending up in another lovely area in a different part of the city are enjoyable. It quickly turned into a very romantic story with a twist of mild action toward the end. The ending could have been a little craftier and not as easy it was. Nolfi selected a wonderful cast that viewers will find themselves able to connect with.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars.