Monday 11 July 2011

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) - George Nolfi

It’s a scary thought that our lives are already pre-destined.  It’s an even scarier thought that this comes down to a group of men in trilby hats and a magical book.

But that’s the premise behind this film, yet another Philip K Dick adaptation.  The problem with the narrative is that it’s all too frivolous.  The idea of these men controlling our lives is as laughable as a spy hiding behind a newspaper with eye holes in it.  They’re just not very good at their job – seemingly all it takes to alter our destinies is a modicum of intelligence.  The tiny moments in life that are “adjusted” to keep humanity on track are innocuous, thereby having little to no dramatic tension.  And much of the narrative hinges on something as flippant as chance that can so easily upset the balance of power.  The film never truly explains why David and Elise (our protagonists) are not meant to be together, yet if it was so important surely the plot would be a high-octane thrill ride of constant chasing?  Instead we’re left with a fairly soppy love story.  Sure, the central message of grabbing every moment and writing your own destiny is a winner, but it’s also tired.  It’s entertaining enough but not quite the thriller you may wish it to be.

At least the music suitably matches the sci-fi and romantic mood.  But then, it is composed by Thomas Newman – you'd expect nothing less.