Friday, March 4, 2011

If You Believe in Free Will... In Choice... Fight For It!!

I have written several times here about my penchant for thinking for yourself, and the power of choices. And I've found that it's rare for Hollywood to really explore that concept. There's tons of movies that are about the consequences of your actions, but a only a select few that focus on the choices themselves. After several delays, another such movie has finally been released: The Adjustment Bureau.

I included the trailer for the film on this post about the author of the story Adjustment Bureau is based on, Philip K. Dick. Now that it's been released, I hunted down some more information about the movie and found a featurette that gives a little more details about the movie. Check it out:

The one key thing that got me about this particular featurette was the exchange between Matt Damon's character (who is campaigning to be a NY senator) and the Adjustment Bureau Agent:

"Why won't you let me be with Elise?"

"Because she's enough. If you have her, you won't have to fill that void inside of you with applause & votes."

I find that interesting because it adds entire volumes of meaning to the actions of the AB. Think about it. If Damon's character doesn't become a senator because he falls in love, then he won't be in a position of power to stop a damaging piece of legislation that ends up killing millions of people, or to help a state law come into existence that is a key that leads to something great, or he just won't fulfull his potential. And in another point in the featurette, the AB make it clear that the same will happen to her. All her dreams and aspirations (of becoming a dancer from what is shown) will not come to pass presumably because she'll be fulfilled with him as well. They will lose their drive to succeed because of their love for each other.

It's kind of like the thinking behind Chaos Theory. One small action can lead to hugely varied events, and that action is the result of ONE SINGLE CHOICE. It's EXCEPTIONALLY thought provoking! I can't wait to see this movie and how they play this out.


  1. Of course, the proof against this line of reasoning is the countless of married politicians and artists (dancers, writers, whatever) who went on to do great things in real world history. I'm sure at least a small portion of those luminaries were deeply in love and fulfilled with their SO's.

    Meh, I don't personally think that line is all that clever or thought-provoking in fact. Nor did I ever think much of the original PKD story this movie is based on, to be honest. That line was thought up by the folks in Hollywood, as per usual, over-romanticizing love.

    And make no mistake, this film is more love story with a hokey twist than sci-fi allegory at work. In that sense it has more in common with Titanic and Inception than Blade Runner or Minority Report.

    I could be wrong, though. I haven't seen it yet, but plan to. But deep in my bones I get a suspicious feeling the overriding message in the end will be that it is "better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all."

    And if so . . . this movie will suck balls!

  2. If this movie is anything close to Inception, I will call it a win. I loved Inception. LOVED it. The point though, is not about the existence of married politicians and artists. From what I gather, the point is that THESE two people specifically should not be together.

    With a movie like this, it's really easy to paint the AB as a mindless evil entity. That line (and I'm hoping the conversation that continues) hints at a greater purpose for the AB. It adds complexity to the storyline. And these days, that is always good!

  3. With Inception, I meant how that movie was more about the love between a husband and wife that's been lost rather than all the sci-fi trappings of the plot that everyone else harps on.

    Still, I guess I see what you mean about that line being about these two specific people not meant to be together. But I'm trying to say that being happily married never robs anyone of the desire to seek applause and votes, or to not go after their artistic dreams. Never. Only people who have never been happily married or are over-romanticizing the effect of marital bliss think otherwise.

    It's like all the Disney cartoons that assume that once the princess finds her Prince Charming, that everything's happily ever after from that point on. But real life doesn't work that way, nor does being happily in love rob you of any impetus to do your job and to succeed in your life's ambitions.

    So even if this is pertaining to just these two people, I still don't buy that as a sufficient hazard enough to warrant the wizards behind the curtain coming out and revealing to our hapless hero how he's going to screw up their great plans for him.

    Again, I'll have to wait and see the movie to find out if this is indeed what's happening. For now, though, I hold that scene with some due modicum of suspicion.