The Adjustment Bureau (12A) - Rating: 7/10

The Adjustment Bureau (From left): John Slattery as Bureau supervisor Richardson and Matt Damon as David Norris
The Adjustment Bureau (From left): John Slattery as Bureau supervisor Richardson and Matt Damon as David Norris
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Every minute of every hour of every day presents an endless series of alternatives: wake or sleep, laugh or cry, yes or no, forgive or forget, read this review or turn the page. But what if these aren’t choices at all?

What if everything we do, from something as seemingly random as tripping over a paving stone to fumbling for loose change has been pre-ordained as part of some invisible grand design?

Adapted from Philip K Dick’s 1954 short story, writer-director George Nolfi’s fast-paced thriller ponders the ripple effect when one man attempts to defy the future that has been apparently mapped out for him.

Audiences who were bamboozled by the matryoshka doll-like dream within a dream scenario of Inception will thrill to this suspenseful flight of fantasy.

It’s smartly scripted and slickly directed, anchored by another compelling performance from the ever reliable Matt Damon.

He plays ambitious New York politician David Norris, who has overcome tragedy in his personal life to lead the charge for the US Senate and The White House, aided by campaign manager Charlie Traynor (Michael Kelly).

On the eve of an important speech, David meets gifted dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) and the spark of attraction is palpable, culminating in a kiss.

The chance encounter proves a turning point in David’s potentially glittering future, leading to a startling revelation: he is not the master of his own destiny.

Well-suited gents in hats, who look like they have stepped off the set of Mad Men, are silently working behind the scenes, ensuring that every human being keeps to a path that has been designed for them.

Unfortunately, every once in a while, blind chance causes a blip, and for David, that blip was meeting Elise.

An agent called Harry (Anthony Mackie), who has been assigned to monitor David, feels desperately sorry for the love-struck politician and conspires to help David defy the odds.

The film cranks up the tension as bureau agents mercilessly apply pressure to David to ensure he bows to their will.

Nolfi directs with confidence, seamlessly integrating flashes of digital trickery with the live action as the plot builds to a frenetic chase on foot through the streets of New York.

Screen chemistry between Damon and Blunt smoulders, igniting a tasteful yet steamy sex scene.

David is prepared to fight to the death for his love – and the bureau agents are only too happy to nudge him to the brink and watch him fall.