The Adjustment Bureau takes on some pretty big themes; fate, faith, chance, luck – good and bad – predestination, God. None of that matters though, because all you want is for the damaged Matt Damon to find love and happiness with the effervescent Emily Blount….
Stubby Matt (no favours done by that ill-fitting suit) plays a youthful congressman who meets a woman, played by Emily (perhaps in her best form since The Devil Wears Prada) in the loos at the Vanderbilt, and suddenly sees a life for himself that doesn’t include aching loneliness and constant craving. Unfortunately this stunning realisation is the cue for the appearance of The Adjustment Bureau, a shadowy, secretive, all-knowing, all-powerful Gods-and-Angels kind of organisation that makes subtle adjustments in the fabric of time, to get people back on course. And of course, the particular course they want for Matt does not include Emily….
So thus begins what is really a romantic-sci-fi-adventure-thriller-chase movie that scampers in and around and under New York City. But again, none of that matters because the stuttering, unfolding relationship between Matt and Emily is so heart-felt and so compelling. Wait til the pivotal kiss in the tea room in Central Park: you’ll also want them to be together. For ever.
With it’s film New York City storyline, The Adjustment Bureau was shot on location – no Toronto stand-ins here – and it shows. You can virtually smell the place. Emanuel Levy – you really must read this chap if you want informed takes on movies and their locations – has the best stuff on the scope of physical sites used during the filming. And if, like me, you’re wondering where the actual Adjustment Bureau building is:
“The physical structure of The Adjustment Bureau is a made-up building that exists in the middle of Manhattan, and it is a composite of six different great locations in the city that we cobbled together,” explains (production designer Kevin) Thompson. “We took the base of a building in Madison Square Park. We took the roof of a building in Midtown. We took the lower sections of the New York Public Library. We were in the U.S. Custom House downtown for some of the hallways and stairwells. We took pieces that all represented the grandness and perfection that was found in a certain period of architecture in the city, and we married them together.” To create the seemingly impossible Escher-like stairs, hallways and rooms of The Adjustment Bureau’s main offices, Nolfi relied on Thompson to build new sets, as well as on visual effects supervisor Mark Russell to create the unimaginable and add on where needed….”
So now you know.