The Adjustment Bureau [Blu-Ray] George Nolfi

The Adjustment Bureau [Blu-Ray] George Nolfi
Joining the slender ranks of successful adaptations of Philip K. Dick's landmark science fiction, The Adjustment Bureau cleverly juggles genres, playing equally well as a taut mystery thriller, political drama and one of the best on-screen romances in recent memory. Matt Damon oozes everyman charm as senate candidate David Norris. He's a young, relatable politician with a bit of a wild streak, which is exacerbated when fate brings about an encounter with the adorable, free-spirited Elise (Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria). The chemistry between Damon and Blunt is utterly disarming, completely selling the unyielding "love at first sight" between their characters. You have to believe in the strength of their immediate connection to buy the more fantastical elements of the plot that gradually emerge ― not a problem with the witty banter and tremendous natural grace of these two actors at the top of their game. A group of well-dressed men in dapper hats appears, reading from destiny's playbook, intent on keeping the potential lovers apart, putting into new light Norris's political sloganeering of "your choices decide your fate, not theirs," referring to the old guard who discourage fresh decisions from younger generations. Parallels are drawn between the politics of fate and the state, both bogged down by compartmentalized bureaucracy, with Norris adamantly fighting both, though his true passion is the defiance of a higher authority that refuses to explain its motivations. Norris's journey becomes rather spiritual without getting pedantic as he witnesses more and more of what lies behind the veil, but refuses to believe his will plays no part in shaping his world. As is usual in translations of Philip K. Dick's stories, the personal psychosis angle is marginalized, but writer/director George Nolfi has his own motivations to deal with, creating one heck of an entertaining and emotionally satisfying film in the process. Beautiful cinematography by accomplished veteran John Toll (The Thin Red Line) highlights the gorgeous, location-intensive shooting of an alternate and more orderly NYC, as explained by Nolfi in his feature commentary and depicted in the better of the "behind the scenes" features hidden in "The Labyrinth of Doors," an interactive map of the city. It's a fun method of organizing features, but instead of a couple pointless film clips at certain locations, they should have inserted the deleted scenes, a few of which feature Jin of Lost (Daniel Dae Kim) as an antagonizing co-worker of John Slattery's "Adjuster," trimmed from the final cut. Additional features include a more comprehensive look behind the scenes, a reflective and explanatory piece on David and Elise's relationship with select cast members, and extensive training footage of Blunt's intense dedication to a role originally conceived for a professional dancer. Finally, a smart sci-fi flick that also makes a wonderful date movie, The Adjustment Bureau only improves upon second viewing. (Universal)