Monday, May 23, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Matt Damon is a very likeable guy. That's his stock in trade. He plays guys that feel like the sons of the blue collar communities. Even when he's playing a super spy like Jason Bourne you always have the feeling he'd be much more comfortable in a neighborhood bar nursing a cold one and playing pool.

This quality is well used in "The Adjustment Bureau." While his character, David Norris, is a politician seeking high office, he's also the type of politician to get into a bar room brawl after winning, or have video of an embarrassing college prank released. Damon easily stradles these two sides of the character with confidence. His character though prone to rash decisions and errors is obviously going places.

Till he meets this girl. This girl, Elise played very well by Emily Blunt, is like his other half. In their brief meeting they obviously feel that chemistry for each other and if not for the untimely arrival of some cops they would have probably become a couple. But that's not their fate.

Or is it?

Later, by accident they meet again. And this time he makes sure to get her name and number. Now there's nothing to get in the way of them getting to know each other better. Well, except fate. When we say fate, we mean the Adjustment Bureau. See, when folks deviate from THE PLAN, the the bureau comes in to adjust things. Generally, they do this subtly. A little mishap here, some spilled coffee there and generally folks get back on the plan. In extreme cases they can even get in your brain and change your mind just enough to make it all work out.

Of course, things will not be easy to sort out the case between David and Elise. He believes it is true love, the Bureau believes in THE PLAN. Who's right? Will the Chairman have to get involved?

This film is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. It should be noted that Philip K. Dick strongly believed at one point he met something like God so it should be no surprise that he ponders questions of Free Will versus a divine plan. Can you have just a little free will? What of the Bureau itself? Do they have free will? These are heady questions wrapped around a film that is half romance and half action. The actors do an excellent job of it. I love the 50's look of the Bureau and their retro gadgets like teleportational hats and books with maps that continually update on where people are and what they are doing.

The end is a little abrupt, but I'd be hard press to think of how else to end this that wouldn't be a downer. That would be wrong because really this film has a sweet feel. This is the "little" people (and when compared to angels and God aren't we all "little?") fighting for their heart's desire. I would definitely recommend this film.

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