Kinda Review: “The Adjustment Bureau”


OK, so, first, I enjoyed watching The Adjustment Bureau.

The reviews I’ve seen have been mixed, though many of those have talked about finding the movie disappointing in comparison with its inspiration, the Philip K. Dick short story The Adjustment Team. I’ve not read the short story, so I can’t comment on how the two compare. I can only comment on it as an evening’s entertainment at the cinema.

And as an evening’s entertainment at the cinema, I found it agreeable. Matt Damon can be hit or miss for me, and was in fine form in this movie. Emily Blunt was not necessarily who I would have cast in her role, but the fact that I probably would have ended up with a more obvious choice for off-beat romantic interest like Zooey Deschanel or Maggie Gyllenhaal only means I’m less creative. And, oh, does I like me some Terrance Stamp.

So, the basic trailer plot set-up, for those that don’t know — Matt Damon’s a politician who, through a fluke, encounters the Adjustment Bureau, the behind-the-curtain team that makes sure that world events unfold properly according to the some all-encompassing plan. When things deviate from the plan, it’s their job to make “adjustments” so things go back on track. In the midst of all of this, Damon’s character meets a woman he finds irresistible, but whom the plan says he can’t be with. He has to figure out whether he can overcome destiny, in the form of the plan and Bureau, to be with her, and whether he even should.

On the superficial level, for me, it was an entertaining paranoid thriller, putting Damon on Bourne-lite turf of trying to outrun and outthink a powerful organization of foes. A good couple of hours of Friday night entertainment.

On the slightly deeper level — the movie says little about, but raises some interesting questions regarding, the issue of free will and predestination.

At one point Damon’s character is told he has no free will, he is only given the appearance of free will. People go through their lives, making their decisions, but in a world in which their circumstances are carefully manipulated to produce in the desired decisions or results.

From a theological perspective, it’s an interesting hybrid view of the two conflicting schools, and one that really only fully works in the world of the movie. But as the movie progresses, the “plan” and its enforcement are further fleshed out in ways that provide more grist for thought.

Without giving too much away, it ties into a theological notion I’ve “developed” of the Tapestry, interconnected and shifting threads being woven in real time to produce a beautiful result. I left the movie with some questions about the implications of the Tapestry that I may be mulling for a while.

But now I’m rambling.

It’s a pretty decent movie. Go see it.

One Response

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