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Preview: The Adjustment Bureau

An amalgam of sci-fi romance, paranoia thriller and political drama, this is the latest attempt to cash in on the oeuvre of Philip K Dick.

entertainment Updated: Apr 01, 2011 23:42 IST
Rashid Irani

The Adjustment Bureau

Direction: George Nolfi
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Rating:

An amalgam of sci-fi romance, paranoia thriller and political drama, this is the latest attempt to cash in on the oeuvre of Philip K Dick. Based on the 1954 short story by the cult writer whose novels have inspired such memorable movies as Blade Runner (1982) and Minority Report (2002), The Adjustment Bureau isn’t a wholehearted success. It’s dramatically uneven and at times, direly confusing.

For starters, consider the believe-it-or-nuts plot. An aspiring politician (Damon) has a chance encounter with a free-spirited dancer (Blunt). Convinced that she’s the love of his life, he’s dismayed to learn that a divinely empowered team of agents is bent on keeping them apart.

To add to his huge bag of woes, a hit man (Terrace Stamp, who does ominous very well) drops by to ensure that the wannabe politico’s life does not stray from the preordained path.

First-time writer-director Nolfi, who previously co-scripted Ocean’s Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum, appears to be swamped by the glossy, star-driven production. Even the action scenes involving the beleaguered lovers running around New York pursued by the ‘adjusters’ feel somewhat perfunctory. The narrative is also often marred by quasi-theological reflections on destiny and free will. It fizzles out into a formulaic follow-your-heart-to-find-true-happiness finale.

The film’s sturdiest strength is in the pairing of Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Just for their charisma and infectious energy, The Adjustment Bureau is worth checking out.