Last year Inception proved how a complete mind-fuck of a movie can do pretty damn well in the cinema. I've had a lot of people ask about The Adjustment Bureau at work, probably because it looks just as mind-fucky. The Adjustment Bureau follows David Norris (Matt Damon), a politician running for senate who just so happens to meet a beautiful and intriguing woman, Elise (Emily Blunt) who gives him just the motivation he needs to turn his career round when he's at a low. By chance they meet again a few months later, but he is soon interrupted by mysterious men in hats, the Adjustment Bureau, who are intent on keeping David away from Elise because that is not part of his life plan, and their job is to make sure nobody strays off-plan.
Yes, The Adjustment Bureau have special powers. No, their nature is not fully explained. But I like that. There is an air of mystery sustained throughout, and you don't get too clogged up in the details of why this is happening. As David gets more and more involved with the strange men, they are forced to provide him with more information so he'll just drop this whole "girl of my dreams" thing, but they only really tell him exactly what he needs to know. The best part about the mystery is that everything that we find out about The Adjustment Bureau, David finds out about too. It helps you to identify with his character, and you're pulled along with him experiencing as much confusion as he is. A suspension of disbelief is required for this movie, there are no real moment where you can stop and think about what's happening, or any times where things are really clearly explained. Things just are the way they are, but the movie does a good enough job of sucking you in that you don't care about not knowing much of the mystery.
This is mostly due to David's relationship with Elise. While The Adjustment Bureau clearly operate on a global scale and attempt to control everyone, the love story woven into the narrative is a great way to pull the audience back into a very personal place. The scenes with Damon and Blunt together are very well inserted between the more action and science fiction based scenes of the movie. The chemistry between the two characters really shows well on the screen, and the scenes are well scripted and don't include too much lovey dovey dialogue. David Norris knows The Adjustment Bureau are out to stop him seeing this girl, and he wastes no time in making the most out of their time together.
But of course, with every love story, there is danger of cliché, and The Adjustment Bureau does cross into that territory a few times. I was really rooting for this couple though, something I rarely do with couples in movies nowadays, but I guess in most movies nowadays couples aren't being chased by shady men in hats who are intent on breaking them up. There's also a fair few moment of deus ex machina, and even though we're dealing with deus-like people, it's a minor kick in the face for Elise and David to be striving so hard to stay together only to have something swoop in and let them carry on for a little bit longer.
The Adjustment Bureau is not a perfect movie, but it's one that I really enjoyed. It's basically a standard chance meeting style love story, but with a really interesting sci-fi twist that adds in enough action to really keep you on your toes and feel the constant, if light, menace that the all-present Adjustment Bureau add to the proceedings. Perhaps sci-fi mindfuckery is the way to go in movies nowadays. Personally, I love my minds being fucked. Feels good.
My rating: 4/5