CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Action, Adventure
  • 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Film4 The Adjustment Bureau

Synopsis

Politician David Norris (Matt Damon) shares a kiss with a stranger (Emily Blunt), then bumps into her again randomly. Soon strange men arrive and insist they stay apart. Also starring Terence Stamp

About

The Adjustment Bureau. Now there's a sexy title. 'Adjustment' conjures all manner of cinematic visions, from a pensioner on his mid-morning stroll painstakingly realigning a wayward flannel gusset, to the more pertinent image of an accountant assiduously ensuring his web of financial fictions rings true.

Actually, the "adjustment bureau" here consists of grey men in hats who apparently run our lives in secret behind the scenes and can reset our memories. It's a little like if Men In Black was recast with an army of John Majors, and about as sexy as that sounds.

Luckily for the film's marketing department, the duff title is off-set by the presence here of two of current cinema's most appealing stars, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Furthermore, a magazine was obliging enough to headline the film as "Bourne meets Inception", though whether this breathless quote was composed after seeing the film or simply after reading the publicity materials is an intriguing question.

Actually neither the sinew-snapping action sequences nor breathtakingly panoramic effects called to mind by the Bourne/Inception sell are The Adjustment Bureau's strong suits. The film opens well, powered on Damon's charisma, and reels us in with some sweet chemistry between his political hotshot and Emily Blunt's ballet dancer. Unfortunately, it then completely loses the plot by becoming nothing but plot: antagonists explaining the plot, heroes railing against the plot, antagonists explaining the plot again - it's all tell and no show.

Although based on the Cold War paranoia era Philip K Dick short story Adjustment Team, not much of the source material remains. But in stretching out the one-line premise - that agents exist who alter humankind's fate according to their masterplan - to feature-film length and using exposition, of all things, to bulk up the runtime, promising writer-director George Nolfi has misunderstood what can make this type of paranoid thriller so gripping. We need to feel worried that They're controlling us, not worried that They're about to give us a stern explanation

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, John Slattery, Matt Damon, Jon Stewart
  • Director: George Nolfi
  • Screen Writer: George Nolfi
  • Writer (Story): Philip K Dick
  • Photographer: John Toll
  • Composer: Thomas Newman

In a nutshell

All mealy mouth and no action trousers, although Matt Damon and Emily Blunt spark nicely together.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness

    Director Mami Sunada spends a year behind-the-scenes at Studio Ghibli as the animation powerhouse finishes two prestige productions

  • Film4

    Hahaha

    Comedy-drama from South Korean director Hong Sang-soo. Two friends, one a film director and the other a critic, discover their lives overlap more than they thought

    On Film4: 7 Nov 1:00AM

  • Film4

    Hong Sang-Soo Season

    A series of films unreleased in the UK from acclaimed and prolific South Korean director Hong Sang-Soo

  • Film4

    Tower Heist on Film4

    Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy & Casey Affleck lead an all-star cast in Brett Ratner's heist comedy

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Rent now on Film4od

Available to rent for £2.99

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share