Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau: A Film Review

One of the many topics that is interesting to us, one that brings about questions, and contemplation, is fate. Is fate real? What is fate? Who decides your fate? What is the diference between fate and destiny? If they are real ideas, can either of them be changed?

Now, ultimately none of us believe in fate or destiny, though we like to play around with the concept of their existence; however we recognize that there are people who do, people who think that there is a play book, a “plan” written out for their life, and that everything that happens to them is part of that plan, whether good or bad. We also realize it’s what makes people comfortable, it’s what helps people cope, probably…its part of the constructs of religion, ideals that we are very familiar with on some level, but mostly not. (we used to be Baptist missionaries...'Religion, You Say? We Have a View On That'

While there are endless philosophy books written on these subjects; fate, destiny, religion…we only wish to introduce you, as a primer of our thoughts on the subject, to the concepts; and also a review of a good film that inspired this blog post for today, one which offered an interesting take on fate, free-will, decision making…and destiny.

The difference between fate and destiny are not strongly defined in past reference; but simply put in present tense, fate refers to events that are "inevitable"/unavoidable and implies you do not have a choice in the events of your life. Destiny is the end result of the final outcome of all of the unavoidable events.

Our interpretation of these description is: Your future is your destiny, it is fate that will being you there.

It all sounds like a bunch of bullshit if you get wrapped too far into it, but pretty fun to philosophize about. No?

(sorry about the brief advertisement, we try to find YouTube videos that exclude them, it is becoming harder all the time to do it)
(Links provided are to Internet Movie Database, and are to provide access in case you do not know who the actors/actresses are, or if you have never heard of this film)

The Adjustment Bureau is a sci-fi, thriller, romance film starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt that explores the concepts of free will and fate, and taking control of your destiny.

We didn’t chose the film, a few weeks ago we read the synopsis when The Boyfriend and us were trying to decide on a movie to watch and we passed by this one, but last night we were not feeling well and so we had him chose a film from the giant collection The Mother has amassed over the last year or so. She collects movies/films. She has around 3000 of them. This was the one he chose.

In The Adjustment Bureau the main character of David Norris, played by Damon, meets a Elise (Blunt), in the men’s room of a hotel washroom at a pivotal point in his life. They both know they are meant for each other and through a series of events throughout the film where “Fate’s Agents" try to keep them apart, they are continually brought together by chance.

The main plot of the revolves around Norris accidentally discovering the Agents of Fate and therefore understanding he is not always in charge of his will, he learns that human kind over history have had their free-will taken from them, because they are never responsible enough to be 100% in charge of their own decisions/actions, and they continue to come close to destroying the world. While the concept of humans not being responsible enough is an underlying theme, it is not the main one. The main themes seem to be taking control of your fate/your destiny...and of course...powers of love (*gag*)

Norris understands that the job of the Agents is to work to bend his will through powers of suggestions, and by creating “blocks” or adjustments to get in the way of his personal decisions in his day to day life…but not too many adjustments as to cause an excessive amount of “ripples” in the lives of other (and ultimately the plans for their lives). String are pulled behind scenes so that he stays on point with the “plan for his life” written by a man called "The Chairman". The problem is that Norris character is too observant, asks to many questions…some might say he is hyper-vigilant, and it's all made worse by his awareness of Fate's Agents.

The film, as previously mentioned, centers around concepts of fate and free will, and the strict adherence of plans for each human being written by a mysterious higher power/person who has a team of agents working together controlling events to make sure The Plans written for the lives of people are successful. The struggle Norris' character endured battling between his own desired free-will and predetermined fate raised many interesting questions. Can there be fate AND free-will? Can you change your fate if you fight hard enough? Can you not only change your fate if you fight hard enough, but can you re-write it?

Clearly this The Adjustment Bureau had religious undertones, but the overall message (which we predicted early on) that while there may be “a plan”, but by following your gut, following your heart, questioning things, you can gain control over your life, rather than sit idly by and let the world/the chairman/whatever the name is that you attach to the writer of your fate…control it for you.
Without providing too many spoilers, halfway through, at a heartbreaking realization to Norris, one thing we wondered...if 
their dreams (his to be a famous politician, her's to be a successful dancer/choreographer) were not to come true, and they ended up together as they desired, did that necessarily mean they would not be as happy had their dreams come true without each other? Can people be just as happy with the ability to change and transform their dreams? That's a whole other subject, of course.

Director George Nolfi did a great job with the assistance of cinematographer John Toll, the scenes of the film were beautifully orchestrated. The best scene by far is one of the final scenes where Norris is running through the streets accessing a series of doors used by the Agents (so they can maneuver the the word faster), while he tries to get to Elise in time to stop her from making a mistake. The soundtrack, the shots, the angles, everything about the scene is gorgeous and enthralling.

It’s very interesting to note that the final scene of the film is an alternative ending, and is not the originally shot scene…guess we’re going to have to go back and look at the DVD extras…

Meanwhile, do you believe in fate? Do you think fate and free-will can exist together? If your future is predestined, if your destiny is pre-determined, how can there be free-will (aside from what you will eat for breakfast, or if you will have a Coke with lunch)…?
If you watch the movie we'd love to hear (in the comments section) any questions it brings to mind for you, any answers you might have realized watching it. Or at least what you thought about the movie.

From our personal standpoint, if there is such a thing as fate/destiny…and there is a plan written for our life predteremined by some mystrerious man…we’d like to have a talk with him, because he need writing lessons.

1 comment:

  1. The trailer definitely made it seem like it would have been more intense than it was.