Friday 4 March 2011


(George Nolfi, 2011)

In cinema, a little Phillip K Dick goes a long way. George Nolfi takes a basic Dick idea -in this case, the existence of a company devoted to adjusting the world in accordance with their grand plan - and turns it into a neat, poppy little romantic sci-fi thriller. Like most Dick adaptations it gets nowhere near his sensibility, but then it doesn't remotely try to, content to springboard off his concept into utterly different territory. The success of this type of material depends largely on the leads, and in this case Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, both excellent, spark with an appealing and convincing chemistry, and their meet-cute is one of the best and most charming I've seen. Once it works, and it really does work, then the rest of the film just falls into place, driven by the audiences desire to see these people happy together.
The thriller elements resolve, as they so often do, into lots of chase sequences, but Nolfi keeps it snappy and pacy, and his classy supporting cast mean that the acting is always a pleasure to watch. Visually, the direction is undistinguished - Nolfi will perhaps be more of a writer who directs than director who writes - but there's a charmingly retro feel to much of the design, and in it's quiet way this film is taking on big subjects; life and love, fate and faith, chance and free will. It also evokes a dozen other films - from Wings of Desire to Vanilla Sky and The Game - but is always it's own animal, and is never less than cleverly entertaining fun.
It's also a hundred times more romantic than most romantic comedies, with its ardent belief in the power of true love, and that's always a cherishable quality in a movie.

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