Perhaps the two most powerful and influential people in filmmaking over the past twenty years have finally come together to make a movie. And of course, since we are talking about two professionals and visionaries who have never rested on their laurels, they have created something to behold. Sci - fi, action, who-dunit, this movie is rich and layered. Cruise puts in a convincing performance as John Anderton, a detective at the department of pre - crime in Washington D.C. Colin Farrel and Max Von Sydow also deliver strong supporting performances. There hasn't been a murder in six years. The system seems flawless and is about to go national. Unfortunately there are a few glitches that could prevent this from happening. When it is preordained that Anderton himself will murder someone in less than two days, he leads his former colleagues on a wild goose chase that contains some classic sequences.
In one scene the police track him to an apartment building and deploy small mechanical spiders that perform retinal scans on all of the warm bodies in the building. This is just one example of the many brilliant ideas Spielberg created while in his "think tank", to which he invited many prominent scientists and futurists. The special effects in this movie put those of Spider - Man and Episode III to shame, not because of how much cgi there is, but how it is used. Spielberg is a technical wizard but knows that special effects are just a way to enhance his vision, and that the real meat of a film is characters and plot. Minority Report is a masterful work which is deserving of the millions it is sure to make at the box office.
Minority Report is the fourth movie in the past twenty years adapted from a short story by sci fi visionary Philip K. Dick. So far, his works "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale", and "Second Variety" have been made into Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Screamers, respectively. So two genre classics and one halfway decent popcorn movie. Overall, pretty good so far. So it should come as no surprise whatsoever that Report, directed by Steven Spielberg from a Scott Frank script, and shot by Janusz Kaminski, is quite possibly the best of the entire lot.
In the year 2054, the District of Columbia has been conducting a six year experiment called "pre-crime" whereby all murder has been prevented by use of "pre-cogs" - those who can see the future. Criminals are caught mere moments before they can even commit their crimes. The system is considered perfect by many, especially John Anderton (Tom Cruise), the chief detective in the pre-crime organization. Not surprisingly, though, it has its detractors. Federal Detective Ed Witwer (Colin Farrell) is leading an investigation to uncover any potential flaws before a vote is cast to make pre-crime the national standard. Anderton is hardly thrilled to have Witwer snooping around, but things go from bad to worse in a hurry as Anderton finds himself a fugitive when the pre-cogs finger him as a future murderer. This much you no doubt already know, since you've probably seen the trailers already and heard the movie's tagline, "Everybody runs."
Unlike other Orwellian societies we've seen in film, Spielberg presents this one as a utopia of sorts, making the viewer, who might otherwise think the premise is alarming, at least open to the possibility that this society is a better one. This credit has to go largely to production designer Alex McDowell, who's helped to create a very attractive future, and one that's not so different as to be inaccessible or undesirable to most people. And as long as I'm going on about the things I liked, let me gush a little about Kaminski's photography. If it's even possible to outdo what he did in A.I. - Artificial Intelligence last year, he's done it here. Much of the film is tinted grayish-blue thanks to a combination of both camera filters and chemical processing. It's not arbitrary either. Different types of settings in the film have completely different lighting schemes, which makes the contrasts more noticeable.
Cruise is fantastic as Anderton, but as is the case with most Tom Cruise movies, he's really the only actor who's full potential is utilized. Colin Farrell is solid as Witwer, but more could have been done with his character. Similarly, Neal McDonough continues to do great work in his supporting role as Officer Fletcher. Also, despite months (years?) of script tweaking, just a tad more could have done a service to the last 25 minutes of the film. The film seems to end almost twice, so I have a feeling detractors may say this is the second movie in a row that Spielberg has made that very same mistake.
But the bottom line is this - Minority Report is very, very good. The science is a bit impossible in one or two spots, and I do have some philosophical issues with it, but they're the same ones I have concerning every other dystopic movie ever made, so I'm just not gonna bother. It has to do with utilitarianism and it's just largely irrelevant to this review. What is relevant is that Minority Report is probably the best science fiction movie to come out in a long time.
Tom Cruise .... Detective John Anderton
Max von Sydow .... Director Lamar Burgess
Steve Harris (I) .... Jad
Neal McDonough .... Officer Fletcher
Patrick Kilpatrick .... Knott
Jessica Capshaw .... Evanna
Richard Coca .... Pre-Crime Cop
Kirk B.R. Woller .... Pre-Crime Cop (Ross)
Klea Scott .... Pre-Crime Cop
Frank Grillo .... Pre-Crime Cop
Anna Maria Horsford .... Casey
Sarah Simmons (I) .... Lamar Burgess' Secretary
Eugene Osment .... Jad's Technician
James Henderson (II) .... Office Worker #1
Vene L. Arcoraci .... Office Worker