Saturday, 9 June 2012

Adjustment Bureau

I watched this again last night and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. You can catch my initial review here.

It struck me more than ever that this clever adaptation of Philip K Dick's Adjustment Team first published in 1954 plays out the classic Christian theological dispute between freewill and predestination - a kind of up-to-date Arminius versus Calvin debate. (Or to be more accurate the followers of Arminianism versus the followers of Calvinism.) Wikipedia has some useful articles if you feel the need to check out the details - the best way in is perhaps here.

Originally I said that Agent Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie), whose interventions (or lack of,) bring about the situation that confronts David Norris (Matt Damon) was motivated by guilt. While that is still, I believe true in part, I have been persuaded that the feelings compel him to act out of compassion.  For me this is a much more satisfying way of reading the narrative.

It also sets up a dichotomy between believing that prayer might change the Chairman's plan - or that in pursuing freewill we can shape the future the Chairman invites us into. But that would be setting Calvinists against Arminianists again - and I don't want to do that (but it's good fun).

If you've not seen it - please do. It's a feel-good film with very little violence or swearing and only one brief and discreet sex scene - you don't get many films like this these days! Something for the men and the ladies too.

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