Have you felt someone was trying to keep you from the love of your life? Someone is. And if you have the potential to be President of the United States, someone definitely is. They are called the Adjustment Bureau, which is also the name of a new movie from Universal Studios, based on the Philip K. Dick short story, “Adjustment Team.”

Matt Damon plays David Norris, an ambitious, charismatic politician, fated to be President. It is the Adjustment Bureau’s job to make sure this happens. Unfortunately, his handler falls asleep and he meets a charismatic ballet dancer named Elise Sellas, played by Emily Blunt. (He actually met her the night before, but I shortened it for brevity) This is not part of the plan, and it’s up to the Adjustment Bureau to set him straight.

“The Adjustment Bureau” holds your attention for its two-hour duration, however if you’re looking for a chase movie like the trailers imply you’ll be disappointed. The highlight of the movie is the chemistry between Blunt and Damon. They are charismatic characters who you want to see together. Which is a good thing because once the Adjustment Bureau is introduced the movie treads into an examination of freewill and gnosticism. In other words, Phillip K. Dick. The movie runs smoothly through the first and second acts but goes out of control during the third, leading to an ending that some may find corny.

My biggest problem with “The Adjustment Bureau” is it doesn’t answer the question, “why?” Why is it so important that Norris become President? How does Elise and Norris’ relationship hurt anyone other than themselves?  Norris never bothers to ask and the Bureau doesn’t explain. If he’s elected President does he bring about world peace? If he’s not elected does the world end? Nobody bothers to explain why Norris’ election (or lack there of) is important.  Instead of giving the audience the emotional and philosophical punch to the gut it could’ve delivered, you leave asking “why?”

Overall, “The Adjustment Bureau” isn’t a bad movie. It holds your attention, has an interesting and relatable premise, has good characters, and makes you question your decisions. What it doesn’t do is tell you why the outcome of the struggle matters and that is why it’s a movie worth checking out on HBO but not worth paying $10.00 for, even if you learn to be wary of people in hats.

To read the original short story by Phillip K Dick, click here.

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