No one should envy a single person who drew the short straw and was stuck working on the marketing campaign for 'The Adjustment Bureau,' a movie so defiant of the Hollywood norms we're used to that it's impossible to market it accurately.
The trailers would have you believe that George Nolfi's directorial debut is a thriller about Matt Damon discovering that a secret, time-stopping agency comprised of very fashionable men controls the destiny of all mankind. Even the posters, which are all staged as a though they're frozen snapshots of a man on the run, pitch it as a thriller. And of course Nolfi's script is itself an adaptation of 'Adjustment Team,' a short story from the same man who gave Hollywood 'Total Recall,' 'Blade Runner' and 'Minority Report,' so it's certainly understandable to assume it's straight sci-fi.
But 'The Adjustment Bureau' is not wholly sci-fi, nor is it wholly a thriller. It has hints of both, yes, but it's ultimately such a unique romance of genres and sentiments that its essence simply can't be distilled in a two-minute trailer or a single image. Which is precisely why Universal's marketing campaign for it has been so off target. It's hard to blame them, funnily enough. When a genuinely original film like 'The Adjustment Bureau' makes it through the Hollywood system and comes out the other side (mostly) intact, it must be downright alien to them.