The themes and ideas present behind the idea of the Bureau and how they work very much scream Philip K Dick
, and anyone who has read enough of his works will probably have picked up on that within the first thirty minutes of the movie, even if they didn't associate the movie immediately with the short story itself. Of course, the romance is the movie's own but the general plot will put the viewer in mind of stories like We Can Remember It For You Wholesale
and Galactic Pot Healer
, even though the overtones are more Christian-oriented than the Gnostic divisions that Dick usually favoured. In short, the concept and ideas behind this film are grade A science-fiction.
However, this movie, when it boils down to it, is a romance. It's a love story juxtaposed quite nicely in this fantastic multi-layered reality - with a far more optimistic world than the ones that Dick wrote about - but because of this there is no real exploration of the Administration Bureau, their other cases, their powers, what else they have done etc. etc. Don't get me wrong, the characters were well written, the acting was great, and the production values were top notch, but you have this setting behind the masquerade that is just neglected and unexplored. So despite how good this movie is, there's a feeling of just so much wasted potential.
The Deus Ex Machina
ending wasn't a problem for me. I thought it was quite ironically in keeping with the idea that these angels or supernatural beings were interfering with the lives of humans, and in turn God interferes with them. It also made sense when put in the context of Thompson's speech mid-way through the movie where he explains that the Bureau kept trying to give free will over to the humans, but humanity kept fucking it up. It seemed like the endgame plan was to give humans charge over their own destiny when they could be trusted not to break the world, and the fact that these two people had managed to do something positive with their free will was an indication that humanity was moving in the right direction. So, like Harry monologued over at the end, these two humans caught a break. Apparently God is a nice guy.
In the end, enjoyable movie, even if it felt a bit like wasted potential with the premise. Definitely worth watching if you want to see another Philip K Dick
short story adapted to a good movie.