June 21, 2002
Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow,
Samantha Morton, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Stormare, Steve Harris,
and Kathryn Morris
Scott Frank and Jon Cohen
BASED ON THE SHORT STORY BY:
Philip K. Dick
20th Cent. Fox
Science Fiction/Film Noir/Detective Fiction
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By Movieguide Magazine
- The theme of a man accused of a crime who runs from the police to
prove his innocence is a very cinematic one. Alfred Hitchcocks North by
Northwest and the movie The Fugitive, with Harrison Ford, show
just how popular and exciting this idea can be. Steven Spielbergs new thriller,
Minority Report, wonderfully combines elements of both movies in a
complex science fiction setting starring Tom Cruise.
In the year 2054 in Washington, D.C., murder has been eliminated. A new illegal
drug called neorin has produced three children, two twin boys and a girl named
Agatha, who can see future murders being committed. The local police have
attached computer electrodes to the heads of these drug-addicted children
to tap into their visions.
Tom Cruise plays Detective John Anderton, a troubled policeman who has become
head of the Pre-Crime Unit because of the disappearance of his son Sean six
years ago. John works under the tutelage of his former boss in Baltimore,
Lamar Burgess, terrifically played by the great Max von Sydow.
A Justice Dept. official, Danny Witwer, comes to Pre-Crime to audit the system
and make sure it has no flaws, on the eve of a national referendum to apply
the system to the rest of the country. John becomes suspicious of the ambitious
Witwers motives. His suspicions become heightened when the "pre-cog"
children, now young adults, predict that John himself will murder a total
stranger in less than 36 hours. Followed by Witwer and his own police unit,
John runs away to find out who set him up. Is it possible for the Pre-Cogs
to be wrong?
Minority Report is an intense, exciting science fiction thriller. Making
Johns job of proving his innocence harder is the fact that the whole city
is wired with retina scans that help the police, and advertisers, track your
every move. No one has any privacy anymore, because, as soon as you enter
a store, moving billboards scan your eyes and ask you to buy something while
they address you by your own name. In fact, they sometimes even ask you to
buy something that the computers show you have bought previously. This theme
puts a delightful spin on the paranoia displayed by Cary Grants character
in North by Northwest. Although the context to this social commentary
may be left-of-center political leanings, the movie doesnt try to place a
strong partisan spin to it. In fact, warnings about the Computer Age, Big
Business and Big Government often can be quite conservative, politically speaking.
Minority Report opens in spectacular fashion with Tom Cruises character
stopping a mans murder of his wife and her lover. Once Det. John Anderton
is accused of the crime, the movie takes viewers on a wild roller coaster
ride filled with chase scenes and elaborately choreographed fight scenes.
From there, however, the movie gets a bit dingy and dirty when John has to
go underground. John develops a plan that leads him to an unscrupulous, nasty
doctor and an oily computer programmer with a hologram parlor that indulges
peoples fantasies, including sexual ones. Thus, the middle part of the movie
contains several gruesome images of detached eyeballs and brief images of
depicted fornication. These images deserve an R-rating, not the PG-13 rating
that the corrupt Motion Picture Association of America has decided to give
Spielberg and Cruises movie. Of course, Spielberg could still have depicted
these edgy, film noir situations in a much more reserved fashion. Such restraint
might even have earned this movie a deserved PG rating.
Minority Report gets back on track in the last third of its story,
however. Det. Anderton eventually repairs his broken world. He even manages
to repair his broken family, although nothing, of course, can make up for
the loss of his first child.
Despite the problematic content in the middle of its story, Minority Report
has a strong moral ending that is also somewhat redemptive. The innocent
are eventually let go, and the guilty suffer their just desserts. The movie
encourages viewers to sympathize with this uplifting outcome.
Furthermore, there is a consistent Christian allegory throughout the movie
concerning the world's notion of the perfectibility of man and Justice Dept.
official, Danny Witwer, concern that all men are flawed (sinful): Det. Anderton
being given new sight, a baptism requiring faith not works, death in the containment
tubes guarded by Gideon, and a type of resurrection through love. The forgiveness
at the end of the movie and the overt, stated faith of Justice Dept. official
Danny Witwer enhance the allegory, which is slightly confused by brief references
to spiritism (which are ambiguous) and suggestions of channeling.
Even so, MOVIEGUIDE® believes Minority Report is appropriate, if
at all, only for older audiences. Such viewers might find this movie worth
seeing more than once, not only for Steven Spielbergs brilliant cinematic
vision but also for Tom Cruises excellent performance (not to mention their
fabulous supporting cast). In addition to being a provocative, dense, well-constructed
science fiction fantasy, Minority Report is an archetypal film noir
that will probably do well at the box office, despite its edgier, more objectionable
elements. One only wishes that Spielberg would stop trying to please amoral
secular critics with modern, edgy material. Great artists can create mature
material and appeal to older audiences without including the kinds of objectionable
material that God wants everyone to avoid.
The previous reviews are a selected sample of informative reviews from MOVIEGUIDE:
A FAMILY GUIDE TO MOVIES AND ENTERTAINMENT, a syndicated feature of Good News
Communications, Inc. To subscribe to MOVIEGUIDE, which includes a complete
set of at least 10 reviews of the latest movies as well as many informative
articles, please visit their Web site at http://www.movieguide.org/,
or write or call:
P.O. Box 190010
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