Minority Report Review

by Shannon Patrick Sullivan (shannon AT morgan DOT ucs DOT mun DOT ca)
June 27th, 2002

MINORITY REPORT (2002) / *** 1/2

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Screenplay by Scott Frank and Jon Cohen, based on the short story by Philip K Dick. Starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow. Running time: 145 minutes. Rated AA for violent scenes by the MFCB. Reviewed on June 26th, 2002.


Synopsis: John Anderton (Cruise) runs Pre-Crime, a police division in Washington DC devised by Anderton's boss, Lamar Burgess (von Sydow), which uses the talents of three "Precognitives" to foresee murders before they occur. Pre-Crime is being considered for national implementation, which attracts the attention of national security investigator Witwer (Farrell). Soon thereafter, Anderton finds himself accused of an imminent homicide. He goes on the run to discover whether there is something wrong with Pre-Crime -- or whether he will indeed commit the crime that has been foretold.

Review: "Minority Report" feels like a movie from fifty years ago, made fifty years from now. The story is classic film noir, with a flawed protagonist struggling for redemption while events inexorably pushing him toward a grim fate. Indeed, Spielberg lenses the film as though it were monochrome, using colour only for maximum effect. Many scenes are painted in grainy, dispassionate hues -- which makes the vibrant sequences depicting the chaotic society of the mid-twenty-first century all the more dazzling and disorientating. Surprisingly, this clash of old style and future setting works brilliantly, no doubt aided by the fact that Spielberg extrapolates naturally from today's technology rather than departing on wild flights of fancy. Cruise slips effortlessly into this environment, presenting a character who is heroic without ever losing his desperate edge. There are depths to John Anderton, and even by the movie's end, we are left with the impression that we have only plumbed the shallows. The script by Frank and Cohen works well as both a summer action picture and a more philosophical reflection on the nature of crime. Too much time is spent on scenes of Anderton simply running away from his pursuers, but even here there is invention and excitement. "Minority Report" is Spielberg's most mature science-fiction effort to date.

Copyright 2002 Shannon Patrick Sullivan.
Archived at The Popcorn Gallery,

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