The Adjustment Bureau

Not just Matt Damon, but also Matt Damon in an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. It's heaven. Well, not quite heaven, though they do drop several big hints that some celestial agency might be at work. Or maybe aliens. Unlike The Box, though, they make it all work.

Matt Damon (True Grit) is David Norris, a politician. Not a slimy politician, thankfully, because that would have just about killed me, given the way things have been going lately. No, he's one of the rare good politicians, and he's running for the U.S. Senate.

Unfortunately, he was also a bit of a wild kid, and a wild college student, and that's not such a good thing when you're a politician. Things aren't going at all well when he meets Elise (Emily Blunt, The Wolfman), though it takes him a while to find out her name. To start with, she's just the Girl of His Dreams.

This is where things start to go a little weird. There's a man (Anthony Mackie, Eagle Eye) following David, and apparently he has been for some time. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way... well, actually, it sort of is a creepy stalker kind of way, but it's all for the greater good. Wait, that still sounds creepy. It's all part of The Plan. There, that's better. I think. Anyway, David gets a glimpse "behind a curtain he wasn't even supposed to know was there," as Harry's boss, Richardson, says.

The Plan -- designed by The Chairman -- says that although at one point David and Elise were destined to be together, things have changed and now they're not supposed to have anything beyond that first, brief meeting. David, not caring one bit about The Plan, keeps right on trying to find the Girl of His Dreams again, and Richardson (Jon Slattery, Iron Man 2) isn't happy. He and Harry (creepy stalker guy) run around like mad trying to stop him, but of course Matt Damon triumphs. He's Matt Damon!

Then They (I'm thinking Harry, Richardson, et al. are the people everyone means when they say something like "They're out to get you") decide to step things up a notch. They call in Thompson (Terence Stamp, Get Smart), because he's the scariest one of Them, and right now The Plan is to bully David into following The Plan.

In the original tale, "The Adjustment Team," it isn't quite so much a love story. Philip K. Dick's protagonist tells his wife what he's seen, and from then on they're both in serious danger of being recalibrated, which is also what they threaten David with. Yes, that's even scarier than Thompson. Poor Elise, though, is more clueless about the whole mess, and mostly just ends up thinking that David is weird, unreliable, or possibly just plain crazy. Best friend and campaign manager Charlie Traynor (Michael Kelly, Changeling) seems to think the same thing once in a while.

The stuff with the doors is neat. It makes for a very freaky chase scene. In parts, it has an old-fashioned, sort of Art Deco, sort of 1950's feel to it, and I liked that. They even managed to keep the political stuff low-key, avoiding such awful words as Democrat and Republican. In short, it was fun.

Three and three-quarters out of five. I wasn't quite sure I liked the explanation for Them, but that sort of thing can be very hard to handle -- too little explanation will leave audiences annoyed and confused, but too much explanation can create an epidemic of yawns when you're dealing with existential things like Free Will. Overall it struck a decent balance. And the next time I have one of those days where everything goes wrong, now I know to look for the nearest man in a hat to blame.

Image: 
Matt Damon nurses a migraine while trying to figure out what They're up to.

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