Minority Report (2002)

minority_report IMDb

I am actually writing this review just after finally getting through all of the Mission Impossible films, so this is my fifth film in a row that stars Tom Cruise. I have made my feelings on him very clear in past reviews of his films, so I won’t go into much detail again on what I think about him. Short answer, I’m a fan.

What impressed me so much about Minority Report is the actual idea of the film. The plot revolves around a future where crimes can be predicted and arrests are made before the crime is carried out. I really like the analogy used in the film to justify their existence. A ball is rolled onto the edge of a table and as it falls off, the ball is caught. Pre-Crime used that as a metaphor for what they do. Even though the ball was caught, it does not change the fact that it was going to drop, just as they believe the crime was still going to be committed. Just because they stopped it does not mean it was any less likely to happen.

Cruise plays John Anderton, a captain at Pre-Crime who is named to commit a murder and his team must reluctantly hunt him down. John is sure the whole thing is a big mistake as he doesn’t even know the man he is accused of killing. He kidnaps one of the three ‘precogs’ (Samantha Morton) that are being used to predict the future and begins the task of clearing his name. He is pursued by an auditor (Colin Farrell) hoping to assess Pre-Crime before it is rolled out nationwide (currently Pre-Crime only operates in Washington DC). Needless to say, there are many twists and turns before the truth is finally revealed, leading to a entertaining and original mystery

This seems very adult for Steven Spielberg. The films tone are quite mature and not something usually expected from the man responsible for Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. He is one of the few directors though who can pull off different kinds of films. Spielberg does a really good job of creating this futuristic world. He has also assembled a really good cast that deliver a strong action thriller. Cruise is always a pro and he delivers again here.

Minority Report is an entertaining and original futuristic thriller that uses the A-List talent assembled to always keep the audience guessing.

Rating: B

I’m still not 100% sold on Tom Cruise. He’s always rubbed me the wrong way, long before his outspoken support of Scientology. But I saw Minority Report in the theater because it’s directed by Steven Spielberg. He’s a filmmaker who rarely disappoints, and the added allure of science fiction piqued my interest. That said, this is much more a Cruise film than a Spielberg one.

Minority Report is one of the many adaptations made from author Philip K. Dick’s oeuvre (I am ashamed to admit I’ve never read any of his work…adding a bunch to my to-read list now). Dick is a sci-fi master. I love the ideas behind his stories, which seem to become more realistic as time passes.

In the near future a system has been devised to predict murders, creating the concept of “PreCrime.” Murderers are arrested before they commit the crime, successfully reducing Washington, D.C.’s homicide rate to zero. This immediately kicks off a discussion about the nature of crime. Since the criminals are arrested before a crime has been committed, can they really be considered criminals? At the point when they are intercepted they are only thinking about murdering someone. Couldn’t they change their mind at the last second? Is PreCrime locking up potentially innocent people?

PreCrime is also revealed to be dangerously flawed in other ways that drive the action filled plot. Cruise is in his element, evading police while guiding the “damsel in distress” character to safety. The story is solid, but Cruise has a way of dominating the screen to the point where I have a difficult time seeing him as anyone other than Tom Cruise.

Minority Report manages to entertain and provoke serious thought regarding the nature of crime, so it qualifies as great science fiction by my standards. And as much as I may not count myself as a Tom Cruise fan, I can’t imagine any other actor carrying this film as well as he does.

Rating: B+

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