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The Adjustment Bureau

A thriller that asks: What if your life was already mapped out?

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Norris (Matt Damon) gets adjusted.
  • Norris (Matt Damon) gets adjusted.

David Norris (Matt Damon) is a former New York politician who meets a free-spirited dancer named Elise (Emily Blunt). But their budding romance is dramatically interrupted by some time-and-space-shifting "adjusters," who explain to Norris that there's a grand plan and this romance is not part of it. Norris balks, and thus ensues a battle of fates -- the destiny he wants versus what's been pre-approved by a higher power.

George Nolfi's The Adjustment Bureau is adapted from a Philip K. Dick story, and has intriguing ideas embedded: Where is the balance between control for the greater good, and the free-will actions we swear by? And if such machinations are best done invisibly, how can individuals accept life's compromises after seeing behind the curtain? Is there a God, and if so, why is He such a control freak?

I'd have preferred the film to more brainy than romantic, but for those who enjoy a love story with a splash of futuristic meddling, Bureau is a pleasant, solid outing. But given the adjusters' penchant for fedoras and slim-fitting suits, the presence of John "Roger Sterling" Slattery and location shooting in midtown Manhattan's old buildings, I was occasionally distracted imagining this as a mash-up of sci-fi and Mad Men. Starts Fri., March 4.

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