Minority Report Review

by Brendan Cullin (brendan AT empiremovies DOT com)
June 26th, 2002


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Based on the 1956 short story written by the late visionary Philip K. Dick (whose works include Blade Runner and Total Recall), Minority Report is another movie that takes us into the less-than-perfect future, this time with the help of Tom Cruise's acting and Steven Spielberg's directing. In this latest vision of the future, we find Cruise in the year 2054 playing Detective John Anderton. Anderton is the head of an elite "pre-crime" unit in Washington D.C. who, with the use of psychic beings known as "pre-cogs", envision murders before they occur and arrest the murderers before they commit the crime. The system is considered flawless and is under review to go nationwide when Anderton himself is envisioned committing a murder in less than 36 hours. Anderton then realizes that there are, in fact, cracks in the supposedly flawless pre-crime program, and sets out to prove his innocence.

Let me begin by saying this. Minority Report is an outstanding movie. For the second straight Tom Cruise movie, we find our modern day hero playing a not-so-perfect character - this time an officer of the law whose role is usually reserved for the likes of Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger. You know, the cop who has faced personal tragedy, who is addicted to some sort of anti-depressent (this time it is a futuristic crack pipe), whose dedication to his job has cost him his marriage and pretty much his life in general. He eats out of the cereal box, lives in a nice but very messy apartment and sits at home watching old videos of what his life used to be and what it could have been. This is not your typical Tom Cruise role. There are no beautiful women, no pretty boy smiles, no "You had me at hello". This role is the real deal and there is nobody who could have pulled this off more perfectly than Tom Cruise. He is great. He had me at hello. But before I get too carried away, let me say that Minority Report was a joint effort movie.

Colin Farrell heads a gifted supporting cast that was wonderful to watch - probably a bit underused - but definitely an important cog. Max von Sydow, who played the priest in the original Exorcist movie, and looked like he was going to drop dead in that movie more that 20 years ago, is somehow still alive and kicking in another fine performance in Minority Report. And more importantly, there is Steven Spielberg. His direction, his vision of the future and what this movie was and what it should be, was fascinating. It was close to perfect. And when I say close to perfect, I have to point out the one flaw of Minority Report. Much like last summer's disappointment, A.I., Minority Report was probably 20 minutes too long. (A.I. was actually about 40 minutes too long, but who's counting.) And in that 20 minutes, Spielberg slapped on an ending to the movie that really left me shaking my head. It was too Hollywood. Almost too "happily ever after". And that really sort of bugged me. Some of my favorite movies of all-time - Se7en, Braveheart, The Untouchables - the thing that made these movies stand above all others is the almost shock value of the ending. The feeling that when the movie ended, you did not want to get out of your seat because that is not how the movie should end. And although it shouldn't have ended like that, it did, and there was nothing you could do about it. Well, Minority Report had an ending that, if I would have known that it ended that way, I would have ran out of the theatre twenty minutes earlier and been happy knowing that the ending was not so happy. You're probably saying "That is how the story ended so that is how the movie ended." I never read the story. I don't read anything but the front page of the newspaper and Penthouse forum, so I can't really say how the short story ended, but I do know that books are always changed in the movies. This movie was so well done, it deserved a better ending - a less satisfying ending - a more controversial ending. Instead, we were slapped in the face with more Hollywood and that was disappointing.

Don't get me wrong. I loved Minority Report. If there is one movie that is a must see this summer, more so than Attack of the Clones, Spider-Man, Austin Powers and even Scooby-Doo, it is Minority Report. This movie will grab you by the gonads, or whatever else you got hanging down there, and take you for a two hour ride that is almost unforgettable. It is a movie that will make you think so much that you will get a headache. You will be riveted to the screen for the entire time you are in the theater and if you even look away for a split second, you may regret it for the rest of your life. It's just too bad about that damn ending. Damn Hollywood. Damn Spielberg. It was so good. Almost perfect. Very close. But not quite. But you know what? I still loved it and plan on seeing it again. And again.

Review Date: June 19, 2002
Author: Brendan Cullin

Official Site: http://www.minorityreportmovie.com/
Director: Steven Spielberg
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Theatrical Release Date: June 21, 2002
Cast: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow

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Copyright 2000-2002 Liam Cullin

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