The Adjustment Bureau – Ending Explained & Film Analysis

The Adjustment Bureau: what if someone else makes all the decisions for us?

The film The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt can be called quite successful without a shadow of a doubt. On the one hand, he does not seem to offer us any essentially new ideas and concepts, and only calls on us to reflect on eternal topics. On the other hand, he does it so beautifully, gracefully and believable that it is simply impossible not to be fascinated by him. Anyway, if you like sci-fi thrillers-melodramas in any way.

A few words about the author of the story and the screenwriter

Reality Changing was written based on the short story by Philip Kindred Dick, The Adjustment Team. You may not have heard of Philip Kindred Dick (although he was a very prominent science fiction writer), but you are probably indirectly familiar with his works. One of the most popular and well-known among them is the cult novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” perhaps in the future it will also start to be considered legendary.

How random are accidents, and should we not grab them "by the tail" as luck?

How random are accidents, and shouldn’t we grab them “by the tail” as luck?

Another good example is the rather late work of Philip K. Dick called “Blur”, which became the starting point for creating a rather bold and unusual film of the same name (Keanu Reeves played the main role in it). And, of course, one cannot but recall the legendary “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise as a key character, which also grew out of the writer’s story of the same name. Oh yes: the well-known film “Total Recall”, which became one of the most popular projects with the participation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, was also filmed based on the story of Philip K. Dick (this story is called “We Will Recall Everything for You”).

As you can see, you know Philip Kindred Dick quite well, even if today you first heard his name. Even if his works were significantly modified by the scriptwriters, all the films listed above (and a number of other film projects) would simply not exist without his ideas. This writer was a man, without a doubt, creative, free-thinking and original.

Corrections team members also make mistakes.  In any case, they can fall asleep in the workplace.

Corrections team members also make mistakes. In any case, they can fall asleep in the workplace.

By the way, the scriptwriter George Nolfi, who worked on the scripts for The Bourne Ultimatum and Ocean’s 12 Friends, took on the task of transforming The Adjustment Team into Reality Changing. We can say that the picture turned out to be not quite typical for both George Nolfi himself and for films based on the works of Philip Kindred Dick. Although “Reality Changers” is called to some extent a thriller, it is still a much lighter, airy and positive movie than the same “Blade Runner” or “Total Recall”.

Correction The Adjustment Bureau

Probably, almost every person at least sometimes thinks about how this world works, and what role is assigned to him in it. Is there free will? Do we really determine each turn of the plot of our life? Could it be that all this is an illusion? That in fact everything is a foregone conclusion, that we simply follow the predetermined path, carry out the algorithms established by someone, naively believing that we make every decision on our own?

Philip Kindred Dick offered a rather original answer to all these questions: the Bureau of Adjustment, which makes sure everything goes as it should. The Bureau always has up-to-date information about possible developments in the fate of each person, about events that preceded the current state of affairs, and about the optimal solution for each specific situation. The Bureau contributes to the fulfillment of the plan, the exact source of which has not been revealed (it is called “Supreme”), and, in general, stands for a happy life for all mankind.

Bureau employees have to tell David about some of the nuances of the world order

Bureau employees have to tell David about some of the nuances of the world order

During one of the meetings of David (the character of Matt Damon) with Thompson (one of the employees of the Bureau of Adjustment), the latter says that every time the Bureau stopped interfering in people’s lives, dark times fell in their history, and vice versa. The Middle Ages gave way to the Age of Enlightenment, the Great Depression was followed by an era of scientific and technological progress and economic recovery. All this is not easy. All this is a guarantee of something more, something more important than the happiness of one person, and something more significant than his fate.

Thompson dumps all this information on David, almost throwing off the responsibility for the future history of the entire planet on his shoulders. And what is left for him to do? What is left for each of us to do when circumstances say that we must act against the will of our hearts, although we do not completely understand this: to whom do we owe this, and how did we accumulate such a debt? Can someone just take away our right to choose and demand that we come to terms with it?

Obeying the Bureau's demands, David dumps Eliza when she needs it most.

Obeying the Bureau’s demands, David dumps Eliza when she needs it most.

No matter how life develops, a healthy, self-respecting and adequate answer is always the same: no. Everyone has the right to happiness and to build their own destiny according to their own understanding, and the absence of this right is tantamount to the meaninglessness of birth and existence as such. This is what David eventually comes to, who realizes that he and Eliza (the character of Emily Blunt) deserve joint happiness and should not give up on it for far-fetched reasons.

Splash

The consequences of deviating from the set course are called by the representatives of the Bureau of Adjustment Splash. Moreover, the more the characters’ “offense” differs from what should have happened in their destinies, the more the Splash will be. Probably, here you can trace some analogy with circles on the water, diverging along the surface of the lake after a thrown pebble.

A splash takes place in the life of each of us: sometimes we understand that our action will entail very large-scale consequences, but we simply cannot act otherwise. All that remains is to readily accept all these consequences and not forget why we decided on them.

Spectacular story, or one big allegory

Of course, with such a concept and such an approach, it is simply impossible to make ordinary, unremarkable people the main characters. An outstanding ballerina and a potential future president are much better suited to the implementation of the idea of ​​the scriptwriter and director, they allow you to create a more colorful and representative story.

David and Eliza decide to be together no matter what happens.  What do you decide?

David and Eliza decide to be together no matter what happens. What do you decide?

In reality, however, Reality Changers can be seen as a grand allegory designed to remind us that it is we who ultimately decide what our life will be like. And even if someone thinks that he has the right to tell us, and even if this someone will have all the resources to impose their will on us, we can still disobey and act according to our own judgment.

In fact, even the beautiful love story in this film can be called a wrapper to some extent. Still, its main message is that we should not be afraid to act as we see fit: after all, we have only one life.

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