Obvious symbolism, a typical, devoted romance and a unique string of science fiction absurdities: All of these are included and somewhat expected in the newly released psychological thriller, “The Adjustment Bureau.” But this film is slightly more than your average story of love and fate.
Based on Philip Dick’s 1954 book entitled “Adjustment Team,” director and screenwriter George Nolfi uses the modern appeal of science fiction and psychological thrillers to tell the story of much loved New York congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) whose path towards becoming a successful member of the U.S. senate is endangered by a chance meeting with free-thinking ballet dancer Elise (Emily Blunt).
Beginning to slowly turn from the political career that had once consumed him, David accidentally discovers a shady group with characteristics that go beyond that of the normal human. After learning that they work for a “Chairman” whose master plan keeps the world in order, he soon finds himself doing everything in his power to resist the Adjustment Bureau’s attempts to hinder his relationship with Elise and control the direction of his life.
David’s fight for his freedom is one of outright defiance and tough decisions. He constantly finds himself faced with the strength of his own desires and the consequences of his decisions when made against the plan of the bureau, making the first portion of the film thought-provoking and very interesting. Nearing the end, however, things become more complicated and slightly silly as a series of science fiction-like elements remind you that you’re at the movies.
Never once will you doubt the sincerity of the two main characters. Damon and Blunt’s performances were entertaining throughout the film despite the strange elements that surrounded them at the end. While they succeeded separately, they truly stood out together as a loving couple whose close bond and friendship made you believe they were supposed to be together despite the plan set out against them.
While a strange balance of complex psychology and impractical science fiction prevail, the message of the film stays strong throughout and, especially for all you Theology majors out there, presents an issue that’s bound to stick long after the credits are through. Obvious questions concerning the reality of David’s free will in the midst of the Chairman’s plan cannot help but remind one of theological discussions on predestination. While this film gives a firm stance on the side of human freedom and resistance, it certainly continues to raise important theological and psychological questions. Maybe life is more like a science fiction movie than we thought.
“The Adjustment Bureau”
Release date: March 4, 2011
Running time: 1 hr. 39 mins.
Main cast members: Matt Damon and Emily Blunt