The Adjustment Bureau

Movies made from stories by Philip K. Dick vary widely. "Blade Runner" (from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) has become a classic, while "Minority Report" and "Through a Scanner Darkly" ...not so much. There are others as well, but space doesn't permit. This plot, again based on a PKD short story, explores the idea of free will: Do we have it? Is it really free? Who actually controls our destiny and why?

Let's talk about the cast and the characters:
  • Matt Damon ("True Grit") is a charismatic U.S. Senatorial candidate who loses his race during the opening credits. He meets the love of his life in the men's room; she has crashed a wedding in the same hotel and is hiding from Security.
  • Emily Blunt ("The Young Victoria") is that gal. She is a ballet dancer with aspirations of greatness and is equally smitten with our hero.
  • John Slattery ("Mad Men") works for the "Bureau," and is deter- mined to derail their budding romance.
  • Michael Kelly ("Fair Game") is our hero's campaign manager, doing the Bureau's bidding but unaware of its existence.
  • Terence Stamp ("Valkyrie") seems to be the ranking Bureau chief.
  • Anthony Mackie ("The Hurt Locker") is the only friendly face in the Bureau.
As our Bureau-crossed lovers flee for their future, we are treated to great special effects: If you are wearing a special hat, each door you open (if you turn the knob clockwise!) takes you to a new spot. We dashed through doors into Yankee Stadium, the Statue of Liberty, hospitals, office buildings, parking garages, train stations, busy streets and lonely parks, with never a dull moment.

My biggest problem was making out what the devil they were talking about. The sound was very poor and they murmured in confidential undertones or secretive whisperings. For a plot as convoluted as this one, we need clarity. Some of the audience was able to hear the dialogue, but many others were as mystified as I.

Damon is a capable actor, but I never felt his pain. Blunt is best when she is being witty and relaxed; her character is charming, but I wasn't charmed. The Bureau was all-seeing and all-powerful, but.... WHY? Their flimsy rationale seemed just that: Flimsy.

Very little vehicular mayhem, no gunshots, no sweaty bodies, no profanity and no blowie uppie stuff. In fact, not much of anything. ...yawn...