The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) – The following review first appeared as part of a larger article (“Now in Theaters”) on 12ftdwende.com on 11 March 2011.

Anyone who knows me knows I like Dick… Phillip K. Dick, that is. What did you think I meant? Fucking gutter-minded perverts. Truthfully I have only read one of his books (the very good Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) but his books and stories tend to make for great movies. Blade Runner (based on that book I just mentioned), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly are all based on his work. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum so are Screamers and Imposter. Also Paycheck, which I seem to be alone in kind of liking. The Adjustment Bureau follows the life of Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon), who is unsuccessfully running for Senate when he meets Elise (Emily Blunt). They hit it off but lose contact until a chance meeting occurs months later. Then David sees some crazy stuff and learn the world is controlled by the titular bureau who are not human and making sure everything goes according to the plan of “the chairman.” That’s right, everything really is happening according to God’s plan. The only problem is it turns out God is kind of a dick. The bureau agent (Mad Men’s John Slattery who apparently will no longer accept roles that do not involve suits) tells David to keep his mouth shut and also that he can’t be with the woman he just fell madly in love with. David lives with this knowledge for several years before running into Elise again and deciding that this time he won’t let them take her away. A lot of chasing ensues. The Adjustment Bureau is clever and plays with a lot of big ideas regarding free will and predestination. It entertaining and to a lesser extent thought-provoking though it doesn’t exactly break any new ground with its thesis of “free will is good even if bad things happen.” The movie is well acted, which is important because you have to believe that Elise is worth throwing away your “planned” future for. I think so, but I’m a sucker for accents.

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