On The Couch 2011 #30: The Adjustment Bureau

I really liked The Adjustment Bureau. The film has a cool, metatextual theme of what happens when characters start rebelling against their writers. The men, or snazzy dressed angels depending on your belief set, of The Adjustment Bureau guide humans throughout their lives. The adjusters walk around with their notebooks that show how peoples’ lives will turn out depending on what actions they take. The adjusters use their powers over reality to shape the lives of people in order to make those lives fall in line with “the plan.” The plan could also be seen as a story outline for someone’s life.

The movie immediately brought to mind Grant Morrison’s Supergods, where the writer talked about inserting himself as a character in his comic books. This was most notably done in Mr. Morrison’s run on Animal Man, where the title character realizes he isn’t completely in control of his own life and meets his writer.

Is this the closest a comic book character comes to meeting God?

When Matt Damon’s character finds out that the sharply dressed men of The Adjustment Bureau are messing with his life, and preventing him from being with the woman of his dreams, here played by Emily Blunt, he rebels. He does everything in his power to exert his will over the will of his writer. It would be as if Dorothy decided she didn’t want to take on the Wicked Witch of the West and would rather run off with the Scarecrow to raise an adoptive horde of Lollipop Leaguers while flipping the bird to Frank L. Baum.

Emily Blunt’s dress gives the Red Dress of Awesomeness a run for its money.

John Slattery seemed like a very easy casting choice, as he didn’t even have to change out of his Mad Men wardrobe to be in The Adjustment Bureau.

The Adjustment Bureau or Mad Men?

The stand-out performance goes to Anthony Mackie, playing an adjuster with a crisis of conscience. Apparently you can fuck with one guy’s life only so much before you start thinking twice about it.

I want to shop at their store.

One thing that struck me about The Adjustment Bureau was that there were no women in the Bureau. Guys, come on, it’s 2011. Women can wear fedoras too.

I loved that this movie used real New York City locations as much as it did. From the new Brooklyn Bridge Park to the contemporary ballet company Cedar Lake, real New York City locations are all over this movie. A cool special feature on the Blu-Ray allows you to transverse the secret doors around New York City overlaid on a map of Manhattan.

Like other movies based on Phillip K. Dick stories, The Adjustment Bureau follows the theme that “you’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you.” And it does it really well. If you haven’t seen The Adjustment Bureau yet, I highly recommend it. One warning though, it may make you want to buy a fedora afterwards.