Minority Report Review

by JoBlo (joblo AT joblo DOT com)
June 19th, 2002

RATING: 8/10

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The year is 2054 and cops now have the infallible ability to pinpoint and arrest people who are going to commit murders in the not-so-distant future. But when the pre-cognitive minds identify one of the lead detectives as a murderer-to-be, the man has no choice but to run until he can prove his innocence (or figure out what's going on). Running, slick sci-fi gadgets and a lot more

Wow...is this the same director who was known to be a little "smaltzy" in most of his flicks, or is this a revitalized man mixing his friendship with the late, great Stanley Kubrick with his own universe of the popcorn movie? Either way, Steven Spielberg proves once again (I thought A.I. was impressive last year as well) that he's the cream of the crop with a futuristic film noir thriller that will have you clawing into your seat handles during some scenes, reaching for the tissue during others and consistently picking certain strands of your brain throughout. Much like A.I., a film to which this is a solid bookend, this puppy is for the thinking minds in all of us, with plenty of whodunit goodness within, a convoluted plotline which may "lose you" if you're not paying close enough attention and terms like "pre-cogs" and "liquid suspension chambers" tossed around like the lingo of the day. Of course, that's not to say that the film is all about the cerebral, because there's much more. This is Steven Spielberg after all, and he's pulling out the big guns here with a handful of memorable, energetic and technologically-sophisticated sequences to jar any audience (most of the all-out action takes place during the first half though). The jetpack chase scene alone is worth the price of admission...whatta rush! Run, baby, run! There's also a very cool creepy-crawly sequence featuring these robotic spiders that is just plain fun and suspenseful (combined with slick overhead shots), as well as one of the most authentic overall futuristic environments around.
There are plenty of groovy pieces to this sci-fi puzzle from animated breakfast cereal boxes to ear-piece phones to 3D video albums to vomit-inducing "sick sticks"...you really get a sense of being in 2054 and loving it! It's also to note that the performances from everyone give it all the more compelling tone, with a man who goes by the name of Tom Cruise, leading the way. While it's certainly not a dramatically rich part for him, he does what he does best with it and truly convinces as a righteous man caught up in something seemingly nefarious. Colin Farrell, looking great in his suit and suspenders, also delivers as the creep with a stick up his ass, as well as many of the supporting characters like Max Von Sydow as the stoic mentor of the pre-crime movement, Peter Stormare, in a small but eerily unforgettable role (the "eye operation" scene is yet another squeamish winner) and Samantha Morton, impressive as one of the "psychic" chicks. But what I really loved most about this film was its "look". Famed Spielberg right-hand man and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski is back on detail here and his photography is as distinguishable as ever. Look back at SCHINDLER'S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN...even JERRY MAGUIRE or his own directorial debut, LOST SOULS, and you too will recognize his visual signature. Faded and somewhat grainy, plenty of overhead lighting, lots of cold, dark and seemingly "foggy" shots...it all makes for yet another hue of character in a film which spreads itself a little thin but still manages to entertain throughout.

Like A.I., the film does run a little too long near the end though and I would have preferred that it end about twenty minutes earlier, when a certain somebody was tossed out a window, but then again, I caught this film at a morning screening, so perhaps I was just cranky as per my usual morning style. I will say that the plot definitely keeps on spinning until the end, and even though there aren't an infinite amount of suspects to choose from, I was generally surprised by most of the twists in the film and liked that it kept going deeper and deeper and deeper (and how about that scene of the dude getting shot and the blood slowly reddening his shirt...nice!). The film also packed an emotional angle which touched me late into the game, as well as some lighter moments, with Cruise delivering a couple of "money" lines here and there (and those slippery eye-balls...oops!), and director Cameron Crowe showing up in a small subway cameo (Spielberg also had a cameo in Crowe's VANILLA SKY, starring Tom Cruise). It's the kind of movie that I actually look forward to seeing again because a) it looks great b) there's so much happening on-screen at the same time and c) it's got a lot of depth so you can always pick new stuff up the second time around. What's doubly cool about this flick and its tag-team of Cruise/Spielberg is that you would think that with the power they wield, the twosome could easily come out with an overly commercial, happy-go-lucky product if they wanted to, but here they are, once again (VANILLA SKY and A.I. last year), putting out a film which may be a little esoteric to some, dark to many and certainly not a mindless popcorn flick for the masses. You gotta respect that on various levels, and as much as the film grabbed me by the nuts during several sequences, it's an amazing science-fiction movie overall with plenty to google at and much to think about later. Oh yeah, I also loved the very obvious nod to Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Nice touch!

Where's JoBlo coming from?
A.I. (8/10) - Blade Runner (8/10) - A Clockwork Orange (10/10) - Dark City (9/10) - eXistenz (8/10) - Final Fantasy (5/10) - Impostor (5/10) - Johnny Mnemonic (2/10) - The Matrix (8/10) - Mission Impossible 2 (7/10) - The Sixth Day (6/10) - Total Recall (8/10) - Vanilla Sky (9/10)

Review Date: June 18, 2002
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Scott Frank, Jon Cohen
Producers: Bonnie Curtis, Jan DeBont
Actors: Tom Cruise as John Anderton
Colin Farrell as Ed Witner
Max Von Sydow as Director Burgess
Genre: Science-Fiction
Year of Release: 2002
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(c) 2002 Berge Garabedian

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