Destiny Check: The Adjustment Bureau

Destiny Check: The Adjustment Bureau


Release Date (UK): 4 March 2011
Certificate: tbc
Running Time: tbc

Writer & Director: George Nolfi

Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Michael Kelly, Terence Stamp


Movies based on work by Philip K. Dick are listed on the official Philip K. Dick site.

Vintage print of Dick’s Adjustment Team

The first film based on a story by Philip K. Dick was Blade Runner and premièred 1982, the same year the science fiction author died. The last one so far was Next, released in 2007. Apart from Confessions of a Crap Artist (French) I have seen all of them.

Let’s say, Dick certainly isn’t an easy author when it comes to bringing his stories to the screen. That’s also why I love his work and most of the movies: Nothing is really set in stone, every way out is a way in… levels, loops and layers. The upcoming Adjustment Bureau again seems to play with the “uncertainty principle”, looking at one of the clips we received today:

The Adjustment Bureau is about fate and who ultimately controls it, and loosely based on Dick’s The Adjustment Team, one of many short stories he wrote in 1954. Over five decades later, its premise sounds like it’s taken from the cook book of modern politics:

“The natural process must be supplemented — adjusted here and there. Corrections must be made. We are fully licensed to make such corrections. Our adjustment teams perform vital work.”

In the movie, senator-to-be David Norris (Matt Damon) meets ballet dancer Elise (Emily Blunt). As he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart.

Norris learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself who will do everything in their power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a set path or risk everything to defy Fate.

Very likely Norris has a plan, and it may not be the one he is getting from the fate makers to execute. As usual this will turn out to be a rather intricate enterprise, one of which Matt Damon seems to be cut out for. After all, in the Bourne and Ocean’s movies he taught us that no stunt and no manipulation is impossible. And Emily Blunt has a track record of teaming up with extreme personalities (The Devil Wears Prada) or getting entangled in complicated relationships (The Wolfman).

The Adjustment BureauThe Adjustment BureauThe Adjustment Bureau

Click images for bigger view

Watching the trailer, I wondered if The Adjustment Bureau needs a little fate on its side to draw in the big audience. Anyway, Philip K. Dick’s second daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, was one of the executive producers, and that should be guarantee enough that the spirit of the science fiction master didn’t get adjusted too much.

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  1. Aah that looks a lot like running and chasing again!! Blade Runner is still the best adaptation, the others were ok. I just think Dick’s imagination cannot be matched, he was way ahead of his time.

    • I agree, although the first adaptation, Blade Runner is unsurpassed. Not sure if you’ve read the Adjustment Team but the trailer looks like the movie didn’t adapt too much from the short story. So I’m really curious to see how it plays out in this case.

  2. Oh no, poor Emily…Did she ever know what’s happening to her I mean in the other movies?

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