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USA 2002
Directed by
Steven Spielberg
148 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Drew Arthurson
4.5 stars

Minority Report

Synopsis: Set in Washington DC, 2055, Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the chief of a new form of crime prevention that is on trial in the nation's capital. The program, known as "Pre-Crime", allows the police force to foresee murder: both as a premeditated act and as a crime of passion. As head officer in charge of the program Anderton is under pressure to see that "Pre-Crime" delivers, as his superiors push for the program to go national. Coupled with that pressure is the grief Anderton is dealing with due to the loss of his son and separation from his wife. The tide turns completely when Anderton is charged with a "Pre-Crime" murder of a man he doesn't know and is forced to run.

Monority Report is one of the best sci-fi films I've seen in years. Recent highlights of that genre would include Alex Proyas's Dark City (1996), an under-seen gothic think-piece, and Andrew Niccol's Gattaca (1997), a love story and cautionary humanistic tale. I went into this screening with the disappointing AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001) in mind. Thankfully, Spielberg keeps the hokey family values to a minimum and delivers a tight, well paced, intelligent sci-fi action/thriller.

The film is bolstered by the magnificent imagination of the creators, namely Spielberg, and the seamless integration of the main concepts in Philip K. Dick's short story on which the film is based. In the film, Washington DC is a highly stylised (though not monochrome) realm of digital images and advertisements, eye scanners, glider cars, vertical highways and, of course, a pre-emptive police force. Underlying the film is the question of moral "viability" in a society that is highly consumer oriented, alongside a timely reflection on the current debate over due process in the judicial system.

Minority Report also benefits from the strength of one actor who is on screen for close to the entire 147 minutes of the film. Tom Cruise (so bad in Vanilla Sky) isn't given the room to do his usual "I'm charming whether I'm playing a schmuck or a schiester" shtick, chalking up an impressive performance as the morally ambiguous hero/anti-hero, Anderton. Max von Sydow, as Captain Burgess, the head of "Pre-Crime", brings a certain gravitas to the film, and plays a great part, as does Colin Farrell as the Federal investigator chasing Anderton, in what are really the only two supporting actor roles.

I won't give more away, suffice to say that this one of the best films I've seen this year and gives a semblance of hope that blockbusters can, on occasion, deliver.

 

 

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