Ossus Library Index Science Fiction Movie Index

MINORITY REPORT

Directed by Steven Spielberg (2002, 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks)
Starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, and Max von Sydow

A chief of the police division that prevents murders before they happen is framed for murder himself.

View count: Twice

 

 

3+ stars+

February 15th, 2005 on TV  
    For the most part, I quite enjoyed this movie for the second time. Mostly, I loved the imaginative technology that they presented. While the data transfer screens seemed rather unwieldy, I thought the virtual reality-type of screen that John used to sort through the images given by the pre-cogs was terrific. I'd love to be able to shove windows aside like that -but I'd need a bigger screen!

I also liked the cars on the busy downtown highway. Although it takes away some of our freedom, in that the state can take control if they want to (not necessarily if they need to), I think a centrally-controlled highway system could save a lot of lives, and a lot of time and fuel and insurance costs. This is Asimov-type thinking, taken even to a further extreme. People would actually be free to shave or put make-up on in the car, without worrying about the other cars on the road! We are slowly working our way there, at least from a singular point of view, with collision detectors on cars, and other safety devices that are coming out.

The other complaints that I made below also struck me while watching the movie this time, especially how they hoped to go national without spare pre-cogs, and the lack of security. Maybe I should read the book and see if it resembles the movie in any way, or clears up any of this...

 

 

3+ stars+

November 2nd, 2002 in the Theatre  
    An excellent mystery, with a true paradox to start it off, but parts of the solution require the police to be real idiots.

This movie gets full marks for presenting a realistic future in a movie. The imagination of the creators was astounding. From the cool cars and eye scanners, from which we can see that freedom is a thing of the past, to the moving vines, to the amazing effects of the screens that John Anderton uses to probe a future murder, the near-future looks pretty interesting. I just wonder why the city lacked color -it seemed that all of the color was washed out, especially at the beginning.

The acting is also impressive. Of course, Tom Cruise always does a good job of running away from people, running to people, and just fighting them in general. He is also no stranger to being set up. Makes me think of Mission Impossible. One of these chases in particular, through the car plant, was funny, as well. Sure it was predictable that he would drive away when the car was completed, but it was also really funny.

The advertising was annoying. I understand what they were trying to achieve, and it was probably in Phil K. Dick's book, as well, knowing how he writes, but it was very blatant and got in the way of the story. It also made me wonder why he was wandering through the city, when he knows what tactics the unit would use, and how they would identify him. The first chase scene had him knocking out officers equipped with armor and rocket packs, while he had none of those. What good are those helmets, then? Still, it was typical enough of an action movie, that we are used to seeing it.

The movie began with the required scene in which John catches a potential murderer. The three "pre-cogs", kept sedated in a special conductive solution, flash out images of murders, which are analyzed by the people like John. He almost doesn't make it in time.

Somehow, the government wants to make this a national program. Does this mean they have other pre-cogs available? Or do these three have such incredible range? Regardless, this means a federal agent has come to check for flaws in the system. The moment they stated that they system was perfect, and that the pre-cogs were always right, I knew that something would go wrong soon.

The very next potential murder sees John racing through images only to find his own face behind the trigger of a gun. This sends him on the run, even though he doesn't know the person he is supposed to murder. I liked the way the paradox played out -a lot. It also got to showcase the world John lives in.

Because of the pre-cog images, he tries to find out who the man is he is supposed to murder. That leads him to the building where the murder will take place, and to actually murder the man. Talk about manipulating the system! On the way, he finds out that the pre-cogs sometimes disagree, and they produce the "minority report" that implies some things might not have happened even though they were predicted. That was interesting, because it means there was a reasonable doubt that some people might not have killed their victims, given the chance. As several events later prove, this is a world of difference from proven guilt.

John also gets to ride a vertical highway (how far down did it go; he seemed to have a lot of time to jump from car to car), which lets him off in a yoga class, nearly in perfect form! He gets new eyes, to defeat the scanners, which is a disgusting scene. I actually had to look away as he started eating the moldy food and drink, provided by a criminal that he had put away years earlier.

And, he gets to steal Angela, one of the pre-cogs. This is where the stupidity of the police shows up. Do they not have the common sense to change the codes, or to trip an alarm when he tries to enter their building. As the federal agent says, he thinks he is innocent, so it's obvious that he will come back to get the evidence. The scanners are already in place!

But Angela is the most powerful of the pre-cogs. She tells him what to do, which implies that she can see the future in detail, even without the others, which goes against what PreCrime officers believe. We are told that they dream of murder, and it is implied that this is the only prescient ability they have. It also seems that she can see potential futures, when she describes Shawn's life to his parents.

The flaw in the security shows up again later, when John's wife is able to enter the police high-security cell using John's removed eyeball. When she realized he had been set up by his boss, due to the slip of the tongue, she gets him loose, and they play Angela's images of a past murder to the public.

The system that they use to catch the director doesn't really make sense under analysis, either. If the woman would be killed by two different people at two different times, wouldn't they have produced two sets of names on the wooden balls? Obviously Pre-Crime was lying when it said that John's crime was committed right on schedule, since his alarm went off minutes before he actually killed the man in the apartment. Wouldn't the cops know about the discrepancy, and be at least uneasy about the system after that?

Still, those are little things, and they don't detract from the movie in any way. The world felt very real, the technology was neat, always a must for this kind of movie. I really liked the spy spiders, interrupting everybody no matter what they are doing. I thought John was free when he dunked into the ice-cold bathtub, but those spiders were able to pass an electric current through the water to get him up! I wonder, though, why he didn't go blind. I guess he got another six hours of sleep after they left.

There was a real human dilemma to the situation, as well. John is a tortured man, since his son was kidnapped six years before. He is taking drugs because of it, and his wife left him (for so simple a reason that he looked like their missing son?), which spawns the events, since the director knew that finding a man who claimed to be his son's kidnapper would send him over the edge.

And so, in this and in the suicide at the end, we are shown that we still have free choice, especially since they both know their future. I love the paradox!

 
   

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