The Adjustment Bureau Movie Review: A Simple Answer to a Complex Question

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Freewill vs. Fate.  Philosophers and religious theorist have debated this question for years and now The Adjustment Bureau tries to explore this heavy and complicated subject in less than two hours without really including religion or philosophy into the plot.

Would you try to tempt fate if you found out your entire life was planned?  That's the basic premise of the film based on a love story and how you choose the person you are with.

David Norris Runs for Senate

The Plot:

Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, The Adjustment Bureau stars Matt Damon as David Norris, a politician running for Senate.  He loses the 2006 political campaign for New York Senate and just as he is about to give his concession speech when he meets ballerina, Elise. Because of her influence he gives an amazing speech that boosts his popularity again.  He sees the woman three weeks later completely by chance. 

Only problem: he was never supposed to see Elise again.  The Adjustment Bureau has to intervene and reveal its secret - they are an agency with greater power on earth to ensure everyone follows their predetermined paths.  David doesn't accept this and believes he is supposed to be with Elise, so he does everything he can to ensure they can be together.

Falling in Love

David tries to outrun the agency who continuously puts obstacles in his way to stop him.  For convenience sake, the agency cannot track people in the rain or near water, and they can only jump time and space when wearing certain hats.  This little limitation helps David later in the film.

The Good:

The romantic in me loves the idea that there is someone for everyone and found the struggle and fight to be together endearing and satisfying.  The realist in me found the entire plot to be a little corny and too simple to truly make us believe that we have absolutely no free will.

Trying to Outrun Fate

The acting was actually really good and made the film quite entertaining.  Matt Damon is good a rebellious man who won't take no for an answer.  He has this charming determined quality throughout the film and you are rooting for him to outrun his own fate.  Impossible as that sounds. 

Mad Men's John Slattery is one of the men on the Adjustment Bureau and he looks damn fine in a suit.  I can't help but think of his mad men character and it was a little distracting - but in a good way. Blunt and Damon share some great scenes together and they have great onscreen chemistry.  Emily Blunt can deliver sarcastic lines and still stay completely charming and lovable.

Beautiful Dancing

The Bad:

The first 3/4 of the film is actually riveting and entertaining -- keeping you guessing about what will happen next and how David will evade the forces working against him. But the ending fell completely flat.  Everything worked out for the best in the end, but the explanation for why it happened was too simple and didn't take into consideration what the entire movie was trying to make you think about in the first place.

The Adjustment Bureau Fate Agency

The relationship between the two characters seems extremely sloppy and rushed.  You want to believe they are in love, but can't quite understand how they got there so quickly.  The film tries to explain the instant connection by revealing that the two were meant to be together in another path of their lives, but it seems rushed and we are left still a little confused.

Damon and Blunt

Overall, the film was a little disappointing in the end.  They didn't touch on any of the deeper issues of fate vs. freewill and it actually ended up confusing the matter even more, which was probably the point, but it felt rushed and incomplete.  More explanation and exploration of the sci-fi aspect of the film would have made for better entertainment and a little more clarity.

The Adjustment Bureau Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
  • 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (9 Votes)

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The Adjustment Bureau Review

Freewill vs. Fate.  Philosophers and religious theorist have debated this question for years and now The Adjustment Bureau tries to...

Read Review Editor Rating
  • 3.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (9 Votes)