Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

So, this week I got to enjoy a wonderful movie: The Adjustment Bureau (2011).  The star of the film is Matt Damon, who we all loved in the Bourne series, and of course, his breakout role, Good Will Hunting.  His leading lady is Emily Blunt, who recently did the voice of Juliet in Gnomeo & Juliet (2011).  This amazing film, directed by George Nolfin, is based on an incredible short story, "The Adjustment Team", again by Philip K. Dick.  (Remember, we talked about him in my Short Stories to Film post.)

The movie, and short story, is about David Norris (Damon), a young politician whose congressional career is floundering, primarily due to wayward impulse.  He meets Elise (Blunt), a talented dancer, in a men's room who inspires him to give his greatest speech to date, and sends him down his pre-ordained path.  However, a chance meeting with Elise on the metro bus causes David to see some things he otherwise wouldn't have, starting a spiral of rebellion against a group of supernatural beings otherwise known as The Adjustment Bureau.

This movie/story is inspiring with its subtle spiritual undertones.  However, because of Dick's scientific background, there are gentle implications about the validity of God's judgment, as depicted in the reference of the Plan.  The Adjustment Bureau and its agents are constantly admonishing David about deviating from the Plan and how the world will change drastically, for the worst, if he insists on fighting for his love affair with Elise.

But the film/story raises the question, too, if one is truly in control  of one's own destiny.  Is free will simply an illusion to give us a sense of choice; is our life already planned for us and we're simply unaware that we're traveling down a road that was mapped out well before our own existence?  Depending on your religious background or faith, you probably have a pretty solid answer to this.  But it's an age-old question that mankind has struggled with for centuries.

No one wants to believe they are not in control of their own destiny.  Everyone wants to feel that they have the opportunity to change the course of their future at any time, hence the reason many of us deny the existence of an omniscient, omnipresent Higher Power.  But whether the Superior you believe in plans your future for you or is simply instrumental in seeing that you get where you'd like to be, this film puts in perspective mankind's need to take responsibility for his actions and the road he's traveling rather than relying solely on the nature of divinity.

The Adjustment Bureau is out on Blu-ray and DVD through Universal Studios.
The Adjustment Bureau, Official Trailer

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