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The Adjustment Bureau
Friday evening's excursion this week was going out to the movies with outlander and ladymacgregor, to see The Adjustment Bureau. The following is spoiler-light, but does talk about what's going on thematically in the film, so stop here if you want to go in completely cold.

I expect this movie to inspire pretty divided opinions. It wasn't quite what I was expecting -- I'd been figuring on weird science fiction, but the film's style is really more mystical than SF. If I had to give it a genre, I'd probably put it in the "magical realism" bucket. The story is something of a meditation on the subject of free will, with enough depth that Susan and I took away very different messages from it at the end.

Frankly, the tone and style made a lot more sense when I realized (at the end of the film) that it is, like all strange and thought-provoking science fiction movies, very loosely adapted from a Philip K. Dick story. That's an oddity unto itself: how is it that so many good movies came out of Dick's work? I mean, the *worst* of the bunch that I've seen is Total Recall, which is still fun and a tad mind-bending. Most of them spin off in very different directions than the original stories, yet that grain of inspiration consistently produces results far more imaginative than the norm. Granted, you have to like Weird Dammit to like many of these movies, but I very much do.

The thing that *really* surprised me (I simply didn't pick up on it from the ads at all) is that it's an out-and-out romance. Not a goopy tear-jerker, but the love story is far more than the usual action-movie side show -- indeed, it's the soul of the tale. The story is much more a romance than an actioner. This probably has something to do with why I liked the movie so much: I'm a romantic to my core to begin with, and a serious love story can sometimes hook me deep.

Overall: I quite liked it, and it spoke to me on more levels than I can really describe. I'm riding the synchronicity train right now, taking my divination where it comes, and this one resonates in a lot of ways I'm not prepared to talk about publicly. I don't expect everyone to agree, but it's going onto my long-term favorites list, and I expect I'll show it at Crossert Movie Night one of these days...

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I'd been figuring on weird science fiction, but the film's style is really more mystical than SF.

I'd say the themes and subject matter are more mystical, while the style is still more SF. Kind of in the way that Star Wars is a fantasy, though the trappings are spaceships and blaster pistols.

Fair point. Indeed, part of what makes it so fascinatingly disconcerting is that it doesn't *look* mystical at all, but when you scratch beneath the surface, it is utterly so...

I agree: not what I expected either. I liked it, but not for any of the reasons I expected. Even for a fantasy, I had trouble getting any sense of gravitas. I mean, really, how can you take seriously the whole notion of the Bureau, its organization and hierarchy and operational modes. The story is almost a rom-com. And the ending...well, no spoilers here, but it was a little too...pat.

But as a rom-com, it was enjoyable.

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