"The Adjustment Bureau" Review

The Adjustment Bureau
Title: The Adjustment Bureau
Director: George Nolfi
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Studio: Universal Pictures
Genre(s): Science Fiction

Rated: PG-13 (For brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image)

Sometimes in religious discussions a tough question to answer comes up: If God exists, do we really have free will? The fact that we can choose things for ourselves suggest we do have free will. But if God see’s all and knows all, then wouldn’t that mean that everything is preordained? These are the kinds of questions that agnostics and atheists bring up all the time, and if you think too much about it your head could explode. “The Adjustment Bureau” actually takes a similar question and turns into a science fiction romance that is exciting, poetic, and smart all at the same time. It follows a man named David Horris (Matt Damon) who is running for the seat for New York Senator.

He meets a girl named Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) and falls instantly in love. Problem is, a bunch of men in suits capture David and tell him that they control the plans of the world, and that the two of them were never meant to be together. They have a plan that is said to be for the greater good, and they will stop at nothing to make sure that it stays on course. This confuses David: If these men control everything, what does that say about his free will? For matter, if their plan is for the greater good, then why does not pursuing Elise feel so wrong? Sure there are other millions of other women in the world, but being with her just feels...right. For him, the men in suits have made a mistake.

But no, they did not make the mistake: This plan comes from The Chairman. Who’s The Chairman? Nobody really knows, but for all the audience knows, he’s God himself. He’s been making plans for years, and while people must suffer sometimes, everything works in the end. So really, why wouldn’t anyone follow the plan? This is the story aspect, which is smart and intriguing. It takes the questions it asks very seriously and weighs both sides of the debate. The romance is believable and touching, and you root for the two to get together. Then there’s the chase sequences, which are smart and intense. The suits can walk through doors and skip across town easily and smoothly.

How they do this is explained in full detail by Harry (Anthony Mackie), who works for The Chairman but has his own concerns about where the plan is headed. Once explained the movie becomes a smart chase film. There are rules with these people that are clearly thought out and make perfect sense. Not once did I feel lost in why they could do one thing but had trouble with something else. It’s not all reveled at first, but by the end of the film I was impressed that everything worked together the way it should. It’s rare to see movies like this come out. Movies that are smart, complicated, and accessible. Earlier this month I gave a glowing review to “Rango” and felt it was some small miracle that film got made. I feel the same way about “The Adjustment Bureau,” but it’s our fortune these miracles keep happening.

Parents, there is a fair amount of languagefor a PG-13 film. Recommended for ages 15 and up.