Minority Report (2002)

The system is perfect until it comes after you.

John Anderton is a top 'Precrime' cop in the late-21st century, when technology can predict crimes before they're committed. But Anderton becomes the quarry when another investigator targets him for a murder charge.

Spielberg does Tech-Noir!
The year is 2054 and the murder rate in Washington is zero, the reason? Three Pre-Cognitives (each named after a literary great) whose combined abilities witness murders before they actually occur. Apparently faultless, it's then something of a surprise to Pre-Crime chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) when the Pre-Cogs predict he is to murder a man named Leo Crow. Forced to go on the run, and haunted by a family tragedy, Anderton must evade the system he so perfectly executed himself. Can he find a flaw? Or is he actually about to commit a murder?
Everybody Runs! That was the tag line that accompanied the explosive trailer for Steven Spielberg's, Tom Cruise starrer, Minority Report. This marketing tool indicated that the great bearded one had adapted from the Phillip K Dick short story and created an action monster? He hadn't, he had in fact created something far far better than popcorn fodder.
Minority Report was the next project for Spielberg following the equally dark and intriguing AI: Artificial Intelligence, both films serving to note that Spielberg was capable of thought provoking science fiction outside of the standard crowd pleasers that many critics love to decry. In fact, it's arguable that Spielberg may have hit his creative peak with Minority Report, for the messages and crawling dystopian bleakness on show paint a picture not so much as a future far away in our lives, but of one we live in now. Big thematic points of reference dot themselves throughout the piece. Such as the changing of eye balls, or that in these post 9/11 years we yearn, and always will, to be safer.
Here in this bleached shadowy world, a world of metallic tones and visual stings (ace cinematographer Janusz Kaminski on duty), we are safe under Pre-Crime. Yet still it's a world without soul, it has no heart, it's almost as if inhuman in itself, suggesting that the World's problems are not easily vanquished by technology - a total sacrifice of the World's inhabitant's souls. Spielberg of course is well served by the supreme professionals he has at his disposal, he has also managed to garner a great performance from Tom Cruise, something that critic and fan favourite directors have not managed to do previously. Believable grief, action work as strong as ever, it is however with his ability to imbue a tortured film noir protagonist where Cruise excels the most.
Alongside Cruise and operating with great impact are Samantha Morton as Pre-Cog Agatha and Max Von Sydow, the latter adding that touch of experienced know how needed for his particularly important character. The odd casting choice appeared to be Colin Farrell as the meddling, almost vindictive Danny Witwer, but he plays well off of Cruise, this even if he veers dangerously close to comic book villainy at times (check out a holy smoke Batman scene). What action there is is first rate, from a jet back pack pursuit, to car jumping heroics, the sequences are crafted with Spielberg's deft eye for an action sequence. While the sick sticks (yes you read right) metal spiders and a brilliant Peter Stormare cameo should hopefully have you squirming and grinning in equal measure.
Which brings us to the finale, an ending that may not be a complete surprise (yet it still doesn't cop-out in context to Anderton's tragedy), but things are rounded off in true classic noir tradition, where it closes down a thinking man's tech-noir. Superb. 9/10

Digital Image Associates, Cruise/Wagner Productions, Blue Tulip Productions, Ronald Shusett/Gary Goldman, Amblin Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Pictures by Steven Spielberg, Philip K. Dick, Scott Frank, Jon Cohen.
Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow.

Genres: Action, Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Keywords: self-fulfilling prophecy washington d.c. evidence future precognition hologram dystopia murder police chase murder investigation neo-noir missing son future noir backyard surgery surveillance state

06/20/2002

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