So, I'm a pretty big fan of movies based on Philip K. Dick stories. I almost always really like them. The only one in recent memory that I didn't really enjoy was A Scanner Darkly. So when I heard that this was a PKD story, my interest shot up immensely. Strangely, however... it doesn't feel like a PKD story. The Adjustment Bureau follows the story of David Norris (Matt Damon) a young man running for New York State Senator. On the night of a big loss, he meets a young woman named Elise (Emily Blunt) who inspires him to make a great speech. Just when he thinks he'll never see her again, he bumps into her on a bus. However, this was never meant to happen. A man named Harry (Anthony Mackie) slips up on his job, which causes a ripple effect that opens wide a curtain that David was never meant to even know existed. As he finds out, there is very little free will, and fate is controlled in a master plan by this adjustment bureau. Unfortunately for him, their plan for him involves him to never see Elise again; unfortunately for them, it won't be that easy to keep them apart.

Like I said, it doesn't feel like a PKD story at all. His stories are generally on the more tech side of things, only every now and then giving people special abilities (Next, for instance). This film deals heavily on themes of free will, fate, soul mates, and a higher power. While it's never said straight up, the undertone drips with fact that these guys are basically like angels and they're working for God (though they do drop "angels" once. The closest they get to saying "God" is something like "you have many names for him"). Though I have no problem with this. I like stories with religious undertones. It just didn't have the typical PKD feel to it.

The supernatural/fantasy element is a lot of fun. They can travel through doors to different locales (a la Monsters Inc.). They can also freeze time and use telekinesis, though they have to have special permission for the former and only do the latter if necessary. But while these bits were fun, they weren't the heart of the movie.

The heart of the film is actually a romance. The relationship between Damon and Blunt is very good, and they have good chemistry. It can be heartbreaking at times--you want them to be together, but everything is being thrown in the way to stop it from happening. And then, in the latter half of the film, you find out why certain things are happening and the decisions that need to be made are really tough. You can feel for Damon and his internal struggle.

The story was very Odyssean (is that a word?) in nature. Odysseus upset the wrong higher powers, so they won't let him go home to be with his love. And no matter how hard Odysseus tries, they throw more and more stuff in his path. But he never gives up, knowing one day he will defeat the will of the gods and be where he wants to be. It's the very same here--just without the sea monsters and whatnot.

I really don't need to get into the acting. Damon and Blunt are excellent, and the supporting cast with Anthony Mackie, Michael Kelly, John Slattery, and Terrance Stamp doing a fantastic job.

So yeah, there's really nothing to add. I did enjoy the film--not as much as I hoped, but I did. I think my biggest issue with it was the heavy tone. For a movie about a couple doing anything to be together mixed in with some fun supernatural stuff, it felt too heavy and dramatic most of the time. I don't know how to say it exactly. Either something was missing or something just needed to be tweaked a bit. But overall, it was a good time--just don't go in expecting the usual PKD romp.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


  1. Nice review,
    I actually kind of liked A Scanner Darkly, it wasn't great but I liked it's style...
    Anyway, The Adjustment Bureau looks interesting and I'll be seeing it despite some of the bad reviews I've read.
    I'm not the biggest fan of K. Dick but this one looks enjoyable enough...

  2. Damon and Blunt's chemistry is what makes this film work so well, the only problem is that the plot just doesn't know what to do with itself to make it interesting in 99 minutes. Good Review!

  3. Waht the hell! Too many people like this film - it was awful. So simplistic! should've been much more complex and profound, but was not. NO no no.

    And slattery - Roger Sterling - just played his role from Mad Men. Completely 2D!

  4. As always, I enjoy reading your reviews.

    The romance between David and Elise was compelling and sweet. Damon and Blunt (her more than him) did a great job. I thought the supporting cast was ho-hum, I have high expectations for Anthony Mackie ever since he was alongside Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker." John Slattery just did his Mad Men thing.

    I hate to use the word, because it's been tossed around so much in regards to this movie, but I really feel like it had more potential. When a movie doesn't stick to its own philosophy consistently throughout, it starts to feel a bit contrived and over-worked.

    I think it's worth seeing, great review!


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