The Adjustment Bureau is carried a long way by Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, with an assist from Terence Stamp, but the directing was indifferent and the script wussed out in the end. And at a crucial point in the middle; watch for the library scene, where we find out that much of the central philosophical dilemma is completely irrelevant.
It’s a Philip K. Dick movie, so you kind of have to know the odds aren’t that good going in; you expect to get an interesting mindtwist of a premise executed without total commitment on the part of the director/screenwriter. Check on all counts. I put this one a bit higher than most, just because Damon and Blunt were so good. Awesome chemistry, great acting. But this is George Nolfi’s first movie, and man, even the experienced directors tend to hit the reefs on Dick adapatations. He also wrote the screenplay, so I can confidently blame him for everything I disliked.
Which is to say that the ending fails to take risks. It’s comforting rather than dangerous. You can read the original story, which is quite short. In the end of that one, our protagonist willingly compromises to save his own skin. In the movie, it’s not surprising that Matt Damon gets a happy ending, but it is disappointing. There’s a reading in which he sacrifices a great deal to get that happy ending, which is in fact the surface reading, but I’d point out that certain parties spend the whole movie lying to Damon and he knows it. I’m not sure he’s made any real sacrifice at all.
Also, someone better could have turned the hat chase scene into something really special. So lost opportunity all around. It’s still totally worth a matinee, because of the acting, but not more than that.