The appeal of Philip K. Dick to filmmakers is easy to understand. He wrote great high-concept stories, and often, the hook of a story would be so mind-blowing that execution almost didn’t matter.
The thing is that many of the stories that Hollywood has purchased, they’ve also ruined.
The real problem in adapting his work seems to be finding a way to take these great ideas and render them as fleshed-out dramatic stories that play on more than just a “wow, great idea” level, and that seems to be particularly difficult for many of the filmmakers who have taken their shot at the great SF writer over the years. That can be especially problematic when adapting a short story, since often, those are about a moment or an idea more than they’re about characters or overall story.
“The Adjustment Bureau” marks the directorial debut of George Nolfi, who worked on the last few “Bourne” movies with Matt Damon. It should be no surprise, then, to see Damon as the lead here. Nolfi also recruited the lovely and charming Emily Blunt, who seems lovelier than normal here. SF, like horror, can be more direct in dealing with the human condition than conventional drama, and you can go for the grand gesture in some fascinating ways. “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind” told a story that anyone trying to get over a break-up would understand, but the SF premise of the film allows for a deeper look at the way memory has a hold of us, and the way we deal with our sorrows. Here, the premise appears to be a way to deal with the undexpected curve balls that life throws at us while we’re planning our lives.
Yahoo! Movies was able to premiere the trailer today, and here’s your first look:
I love John Slattery as part of the Adjustment Bureau, and I’m curious to see how Christoph Waltz fits into the overall picture. I think it’s an interesting adaptation of the premise, and it could end up as a fun headtrip for grown-ups.
“The Adjustment Bureau” opens in theaters September 17, 2010.
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