Well, I’m just going to come out and say it. The Adjustment Bureau is a perfect example of how you can butcher a perfectly good science fiction story by turning it into a romantic piece of shit. What can I say, they really got me with this one. Moreover, I didn’t do something I kept telling others to do and I kept my expectations high. After all, this is a movie based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, one of my favorite science fiction writers. Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Screamers are all movies based on his works. In recent years, we’ve seen not one, not two, but three K. Dick adaptations.
Next, Paycheck, and A Scanner Darkly all came out in the span of just four years. The themes K. Dick explores in his stories are still very much relevant and intriguing. The nature of reality, drug abuse, and authoritarian governments are just some of them. And it’s because of this I’m still recommending the movie we’re talking about today. The Adjustment Bureau follows a prospective politician who stumbles into a dangerous conspiracy that will change everything he considers to be real.
The movie explores not only the concept of free will but also looks at reality from a weird, religious perspective. Since the main story revolves around two lovers who find themselves in grave danger, I understand why the studios picked this story. However, they focused only on the romantic part of the story, showing utter disregard for all other themes. I don’t know about you but the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt was almost nonexistent. Both of them are great actors and they tried their best but the sparks were simply not flying.
David Norris is a young and successful politician, trying to get into the U.S. Senate. However, after some awkward pictures of him appear in the press, he fails. Disappointed, he tries to come up with a closing speech when he meets a charming and highly fuckable dancer in a toilet. They immediately fall in love with each other but faith separates them, but then again was it really faith or some strange-looking people with hats? Intrigued and determined to fuck her David, will do anything he can to find out what is keeping him away from her.
Not all the changes they’ve made to the original story were bad. For example, our original protagonist was an insurance salesman and I like that he’s now a politician. The change honors one of K. Dick’s prominent themes and makes for an interesting commentary on our society. Of course, since this is a “big movie”, the production values and everything else was top-notch. I also like the fact that the pacing is quite brisk along with the short running time. Despite all of its flaws, I still think The Adjustment Bureau is a movie worth watching. The main story is full of mystery and intriguing concepts while the visuals are quite stylish.
Most of all, this is a movie posing a thought-provoking question: is there free will? And it follows it up with another one: is there a god? If you want to know my answers, they are: yes, in a perceptual way and no in a conceptual way, and, no in every sense of the word. As a true cynical skeptic, I remain open to new evidence. Finally, I have to say that the movie I kept thinking of and the movie I think they were going for was Kate & Leopold. I’m sure you remember this romantic time travel comedy starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman.
Director: George Nolfi
Writers: George Nolfi, Philip K. Dick
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Kastriner, Phyllis MacBryde, Jon Stewart
Fun Facts: After Damon criticized Barack Obama, he said the following about this movie: “Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance. Well Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau.”