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Feature – The Adjustment Bureau

To mark the release of Matt Damon and Emily Blunt’s new thriller THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, which hits cinemas this Friday, we’re going to give you a quick run down on the legendary sci-fi writer Phillip K Dick, whose short story Adjustment Team inspired this film.

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, which is based on the short story ‘Adjustment Team’, puts forward an absolutely original and thoroughly thought-provoking premise Do we control our own fate? , which is a credit to the talent of Phillip K Dick as a master in the science fiction realm.

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU would suggest that our fate is in fact pre-determined and mapped out by a secret organisation of “watchers” who in this case can be likened to Angels dressed in smart suits and Trilby hats!

David Norris (Matt Damon) is a young charismatic politician who is destined for greatness but when he has a chance encounter with dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) he instantly falls for her and veers off his pre-determined path. The adjustment team must step in to make a “correction“ and put David back on a course that will mean he is never allowed to see Elise again. To the frustration of the Bureau David and Elise have another chance encounter bringing them back together again and this time David is determined they will not be split apart.

Philp K Dick is a legendary cult short story writer and novelist. His imaginative and unique narratives have inspired numerous feature films and attracted some of Hollywood’s most prominent directors including Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg and John Woo

In a signature role as 21st-century detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) brings his masculine-yet-vulnerable presence to this stylish noir thriller. BLADE RUNNER is based on Phillip K Dick’ novel ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep’ and was directed by Ridley Scott.

Deckard is a Blade Runner, a super cop of the future who hunts down and terminates replicants (artificially created humans) He wants to get out of the force, but is drawn back in when four illegal humanoids, have infiltrated 21st Century Los Angeles. Decker is recruited to eliminate the convincing android beings before they cause any damage or create unrest in the paranoid hi-tech urban society.

The city that Deckard must search for his prey is a huge, sprawling, bleak vision of the future. This film questions what it is to be human, and why life is so precious.

This rip-roaring slice of sci-fi excess remains Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most satisfying film since his breakthrough hit, The Terminator. Director Paul Verhoeven, armed with a smart script from Ronald Shusett, Gary Goldman and Dan O’Bannon (itself loosely based on Phillip K Dick’s short story ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’), cuts loose with a gloriously over-the-top mix of black humour, ultra-violence and spectacular effects. The result was a massive worldwide hit. Schwarzenegger is the dull construction worker on a futuristic Earth, who is drawn into a conspiracy on the planet Mars when a virtual reality holiday awakens long-dormant memories. Ronny Cox, fresh from his bad-guy role in Verhoeven’s Robocop, delivers another villainous performance, and is ably assisted by Michael Ironside. However, the real find turned out to be Sharon Stone; she had been on the fringes of Hollywood for some time, but it was this performance that led her to her ground-breaking role in Verhoeven’s next movie, Basic Instinct.

The science-fiction thriller MINORITY REPORT directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, is based on another of Dick’s short stories also entitled ‘Minority Report’.

In the year 2054, in Washington, D.C, murder has been eliminated thanks to Precrime, a program that uses the visions of three psychics, called Precogs (an abbreviation for precognitive thinkers), to arrest and imprison would-be murderers before they have a chance to kill. Tom Cruise plays John Anderton, a Precrime enforcer who believes in the system for his own personal reasons- years back his young son was abducted, and he has dealt with the loss by becoming a high-strung Precrime officer.

The director of Precrime (Max von Sydow) is eager to take the program national, and feels threatened by an ambitious federal agent (Colin Farrell) who is bent on finding a flaw in the system. When Anderton finds himself accused of the future murder of a man he’s never met, his faith in Precrime is instantly shaken. He goes on the run, and is trailed by the relentless Precrime police.

In the tradition of Blade Runner, MINORITY REPORT is a dark, brooding vision of the future. Spielberg expertly mixes thrilling chase and suspense sequences (the best of which involves Anderton being pursued by eye-scanning mechanical spiders) and stunning special effects with a challenging look at society’s willingness to sacrifice privacy and the notion of free will for convenience and security. MINORITY REPORT is a thought-provoking and exciting film that ranks with Spielberg’s best.

Adapted from Phillip K Dick’s mind-bending sci-fi thriller ‘Paycheck’, this slick and riveting film of the same name is directed by John Woo (The Killer, Mission Impossible II) the king of artful gun fighting flicks who shows off his agility here with flat-out, white-knuckle cinematic entertainment. Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) is a high-paid engineer who works on hush-hush computer inventions and technology for shady companies. Later, his memory is wiped clean, so he has no recollection of his work. His so-called friend Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart, the master of smarmy mean-spiritedness ‘In The Company Of Men’) offers him enough money to retire by working on a project at Rethrick’s company, Allcom.

When Jennings emerges three years later, sans memory, he tries to collect his paycheck. At the bank, he’s handed a manila envelope filled with cryptic items he doesn’t recognise, and told he voluntarily forfeited his entire paycheck. He also has a stunning girlfriend named Dr. Rachel Porter (Uma Thurman) who is likewise ensnared in the conspiracy. Jennings must somehow piece together the clues he left for himself, and find out why everyone is out to kill him.

As usual, Dick’s story is the basis for a killer script that travels from point A to Z with gripping immediacy. The clues left for Jennings are amusing devices, intricately pieced together. Woo clearly enjoyed choreographing the wild gun fighting and chase sequences (slo-mo bullets aplenty), sending Affleck and Thurman on the run with a BMW motorcycle.

Based on legendary science-fiction author Philip K. Dick’s own experiences, A SCANNER DARKLY tells the darkly comedic, caustic, but deeply tragic tale of drug use in the modern world. The film plays like a graphic novel come to life with live-action photography overlaid with an advanced animation process – a method known as interpolated rotoscoping. Set in the not-too-distant future where a new drug, substance D, has created an epidemic, A Scanner Darkly charts the mental unravelling of Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves). Arctor is an undercover cop who has been assigned to track a group of individuals who include the hyper-intense Luckman (Woody Harrelson), the ultra-paranoid Freck (Rory Cochrane), and the beautiful Donna (Winona Ryder). As the film unfolds and Arctor finds himself abusing substance D in order to maintain his façade, his mind begins to spin out of control, to the point where he doesn’t know what’s real and what isn’t. Eventually, the truth comes out, leaving Arctor even more numbed. Linklater’s surprisingly faithful adaptation of Dick’s novel blends humour, drama, and Bob Sabiston’s striking animation to deliver a thought-provoking film that will leave viewers as dazed as the film’s protagonist.

Other films inspired by the work of Phil K Dick include:

  • 2007 Next
  • 2001 Impostor
  • 1995 Screamers
  • 1992 Confessions d’un Barjo (novel)
  • 1962 Out of This Word

The Adjustment Bureau trailer

Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he’s ever loved (Emily Blunt) across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York.

David Norris Damon) learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself–the men of The Adjustment Bureau–who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise (Blunt) from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path…or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.

The film is George Nolfi’s directorial debut, having written the scripts for The Bourne Ultimatum and Oceans Twelve, and is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story “Adjustment Team”. Philip K. Dick is the author behind the short stories that to movies such as Blade Runner and Minority Report.

The Adjustment Bureau is out 17th September 2010.