Minority Report Review

by Homer Yen (homer_yen AT yahoo DOT com)
June 24th, 2002

"Minority Report" is a Major Accomplishment
When Steven Spielberg is at the top of his game, he creates wondrous stories that spark the imagination and inspire us with child-like awe. When Tom Cruise is at the top of his game, he brings wit and determination and soul to his character. They are both at the top of their games, and they bring to us a futuristic thriller that can do no wrong.

In the year 2054, a boon to crime fighting has arisen thanks to three prescient beings (known as "Pre-Cogs") that can foresee future murders before they happen. A complex computer apparatus that incorporates biotechnological mechanisms projects and records their images of murders to come. The police from the Department of Pre-Crime instantly mobilize to prevent it from ever happening.

"There hasn't been a murder in six years. The system is perfect," exclaims John Anderten (Tom Cruise), Chief of the Department of Pre-Crime. However, his unbridled belief in the system is making him dangerous to some for reasons that are not immediately clear. An apparent conspiracy arises as the "Pre-Cogs" label him as a future murderer. The victim is someone that Anderten doesn't even know, but his destiny has been sealed and he can't change the future. Or can he?

Anderten goes on the run in an effort to clear his name and to get to the bottom of this engrossing mystery. He elicits the help of many, including his indomitable Director (Max Von Sydow) and even Agatha (Samantha Morton) who is the lead Pre-Cog. Meanwhile, the department, now headed by a hungry bureaucrat (Collin Farrell), deploys officers and futuristic machinery to hunt him down.

While the mystery holds you to the very end, we are treated to lots of other superb filmmaking touches that enhance the movie watching experience. Characters are well developed. Anderten is much more than a high-flying cop and Agatha is more than a gifted soul. They are each scarred in some way. Their partnership looks and seems unlikely but each holds the key to the other's salvation.

The visualizations are stunning. The cinematography, sometimes grainy and sometimes bleached, adds to the aura of a future marred with uncertainty and distrust. The metropolis of the future is incredibly realized. It features a highway system that runs horizontally AND vertically. There's a definite sense of Big Brother watching you, as privacy seems to no longer exist. Once you walk into a clothing store, for example, an image greets you by name. The only way to remain incognito, it seems, is to rip one's own eyes out!

Savvy direction really elevates this film. We see it in many incredible sequences. Of note are the robotic spiders that infiltrate a building in an effort to find Anderten. Another is a memorable pursuit through a busy mall where Agatha uses her cognitive abilities to help Anderten allude capture. The timing and choreography of all this must be incredibly difficult, but the end result looks seamless. The 'wow' effect is high.

There is such gratification that arises from watching a film like "Minority Report" that you would be hard pressed to find a more complete movie this year. It is an orgy of plot, action, and ideas. It has the sustained feel of a clever whodunit; it showcases stellar action sequences that are tense and sublime; and it offers a peek into a possible future that stretches the imagination without feeling improbable.
Grade: A

S: 0 out of 3
L: 2 out of 3
V: 2 out of 3

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