Mar 062011
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi thriller “Minority Report” was a visual and intellectual marvel that dealt with the extensive repercussions of fate. It established a world in which the police were able to prevent murder before it occurs, an attempt by man to adjust his own destiny.

That film was adapted from a short story written by Philip K. Dick, a sci-fi novelist who typically wrote on the social and political implications of an altered reality.

The latest adaptation of one of Dick’s stories comes in the form of “The Adjustment Bureau,” a film that revisits the question of fate, but pits it against the power of human love.

The movie suggests that everything happens in our lives for a reason and that forces of a higher power exist to nudge us in the right direction in order to keep us from straying from the plan that they set out for us.

In the film, Matt Damon stars as upstart politician David Norris, a congressman from New York vying for a senate seat until some bad press derails his campaign.

While preparing for his concession speech, he meets dancer Elise Sakas (Emily Blunt) and almost by divine intervention, the two fall in love.

The relationship between David and Elise is the driving force of “The Adjustment Bureau,” and keeps things in motion among a plot that is bogged down by the precepts of its own world.

The exposition is delivered at an almost trivial level, where essentially everything is spelled out for the viewer.

Even for a sci-fi film, the rules regarding how the adjustment agents are able to change people’s fates are generously explained, and usually at a time most convenient for the protagonist.

Having so much of the movie being spelled out severely diminishes the level of suspense that normally drives a sci-fi story.

These hindrances are what ultimately keep the film from reaching the impressive heights that “Minority Report” attained.

The spark between Damon and Blunt keeps things interesting, but regarding the film’s merit as an adaptation of a sci-fi visionary’s work, its philosophical bark is worse than its bite.

“The Adjustment Bureau” is rated PG-13 for pretending to allude to philosophical ideas about destiny.

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at and can be followed on Twitter at

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