tek's rating: ¾

The Adjustment Bureau (PG-13)
IMDb; official website; PKD-pedia; Rotten Tomatoes; Templeton Gate; TV Tropes; Universal; Wikipedia

This came out in 2011, but I didn't see it until 2017. It's based on a Philip K. Dick story, which I haven't read. Before I saw it, I kind of thought that I'd put the review under "science fiction," but after I saw it, I really didn't think that was right. It's a little bit action, vaguely dystopian, a bit romance, but mostly I thought it was... well, it fell somewhere between supernatural and paranormal (which would be fine, since those two things are a single category, in my reckoning, anyway). But at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to file it under "weird."

So, Matt Damon plays a Congressman named David Norris, who is running for Senate. He's the front-runner, but then a ridiculously trifling "scandal" derails his campaign, and he loses. Then he meets a woman named Elise (Emily Blunt), though actually he doesn't learn her name until a month later. Meanwhile, there's a man named Harry (Anthony Mackie), who for some reason is supposed to make sure David spills coffee on himself. However, he fails to do this, and David ends up catching a bus that he was supposed to miss. It's there that he runs into Elise again, and finally gets her name and phone number. Later, he arrives at work on time, when he should have been late. And because of this... he sees something he shouldn't have seen. That leads to a chase, but he's eventually caught, and the truth is explained to him. There are people who... well, they aren't really "people," exactly. But their job is to keep the world running according to a "plan." There's an implication that their boss, whom they refer to as "the Chairman," is actually God, and that the people who work for the "Adjustment Bureau" are sort of angels. Harry is one of them, but the one who's in charge of keeping David on the proper path is Richardson (John Slattery). And he takes the card Elise had given David, with her phone number, and burns it. Because they're not supposed to be together. And if he tells anyone about any of this, they'll basically wipe his mind.

Three years later, David runs into Elise again, and begins a relationship with her, which the Adjustment Bureau tries desperately to stop. When Richardson and his team fail to stop him, the assignment gets bumped to a higher-up named Thompson. And after awhile, Thompson seems to succeed. But nearly a year later, David gets some help from Harry, to reconnect with Elise. And... that's pretty much all I want to say about the plot. I don't want to reveal how it all ends, let alone why the Bureau is so determined to keep David and Elise apart.

Anyway... I found the whole thing fairly interesting. And disturbing. And reminiscent of any number of things, from Foundation to The Lost Room. And just, I dunno... weird. But seriously, there's a whole mythology going on here that I wouldn't mind exploring in other stories, if someone would just go to the trouble of writing them. As for this particular story... well, I thought it was pretty good, but not really great. Honestly, I thought the worldbuilding was better than the story set within the world. But still... interesting.


weird index