More than once I’ve been convinced that there’s a secret cabal, an organization like the Illuminati that are secretly in control of the world and, just perhaps, of what’s going on in my life too. I mean, sometimes explaining everything as simply being coincidence gets a bit weak. Fortunately I’m not alone in this skepticism of free will and random chance, with one of the greatest proponents of this paranoid worldview being the brilliant, troubled sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. You know his stuff. He wrote the story that became Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly and Next.
Add The Adjustment Bureau to this list of PDK-inspired movies, with its deftly interwoven love story between youthful politician David Norris (Matt Damon) and modern ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) overshadowed by mysterious watchers (a la Dark City, but less creepy) who are part of the titular Adjustment Bureau.
Norris bumps into Sellas accidentally, falls in love and then learns from the mysterious Richardson (John Slattery) that he cannot have a relationship with her and that The Plan doesn’t allow it. Richardson is a member of the mysterious Bureau and it’s his team’s responsibility to steer humanity in positive directions, occasionally having to “adjust” people to ensure appropriate outcomes. Norris learns about their activity and is then blackmailed: if he tells anyone about it, they’ll wipe his mind clean. But what of the lovely Sellas?
The biggest challenge with a film like The Adjustment Bureau is that there are a lot of ways it can trip up on itself and drop into the overly fantastic or just plain stupid. I’m glad to say that they held it together and while I’m not crazy about the ending (I think they should have ended it about 30 seconds prior) the film proves an interesting, engaging, thought-provoking and enjoyable action adventure.
Check it out. It’s pretty cool.