The Adjustment Bureau

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 29, 2015

 There might be something in this recent spate of thrillers that not only have philosophical pretensions, but actually rise to a measure of philosophizing. This one has some good stuff about God and man, free will and determinism, and then the possibility and viability of personal determination over and above it all. As Mr. Damon, who is developing a really interesting low affect acting style, runs around all over the place, we get kinesis and exegesis both.

Themes, for instance: restriction may be, often is benevolent. Dominoes fall, and devil take the hindmost. We don’t deserve it. Or, one importunate widow can actually make a difference. Oh—and obviously, the temptations of paternalistic, deterministic despotism. (We’re talking about Homeland Security, once again…) It seems quite sincere, and quite viable, that in the face of all of the reasonably substantial political exploration it’s love that conquers all. (Cf. the Archers’ A Matter of Life and Death!) The romance here is only somewhat and not exclusively immoral, and everyone involved really seem to believe in its importance. If you don’t deserve it, but you still get it, isn’t that grace? What does it say about my middle-aged self that I don’t buy it, or maybe just don’t like it? These characters should fail! Not having much faith in the masses, it would seem, or maybe reading and seeing a few too many wonderfully despairing works.