Sunday, 10 October 2010

Review: Minority Report (Philip K. Dick blogathon)

Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) works for the Department of Precrime in Washington D.C. in the year 2054. Utilising the skills of three precognitives (genetically altered people who can see the future, and more specifically, murders that are going to take place) the department tracks down and apprehends criminals before they have the chance to kill. This initiative has been in place for 6 years and murders are now a thing of the past. There are plans for it to go national and an observer from the Justice Department, Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), arrives to root out any possible flaws before this happens.

This ‘perfect’ system soon starts crumbling though, after the precogs predict that John himself will commit a murder in 36 hours. Convinced he has been set-up, and determined to prove his innocence, John must try to keep one step ahead of the rest of his team. The paradox is, if he is correct, then the Precrime department is flawed and it will be closed down. If he is wrong, he will be locked away, so it seems like a lose/lose situation for him.

Minority Report is a big budget sci-fi action film directed by Steven Spielberg. It has a solid cast, with Tom Cruise in the lead role and Colin Farrell, Max Von Sydow and Samantha Morton in support. The film has a very futuristic look and feel and the production design is very impressive. Some visions of the future look cheesy and unrealistic, but here it is believable and inspiring. There is a vast array of gadgetry and technology on show. Advertising has taken a step forward, becoming more personalised and targeted. Eye scanners identify people and bill boards call out their name as they pass by. The cars are very sleek and cool and can travel down vertical roads as well as the conventional way.

The Precrime department itself has a large screen on which to view the images that the precogs see, and by wearing special gloves they can manipulate the images – moving, rotating and zooming in for a closer look. Out in the field they have flying transportation and jet packs (who doesn’t love jet packs?!) Also notable is a gun that releases a blast of energy that pushes the target back (force push, anyone?) and a sick stick, which makes whoever is jabbed with it throw up uncontrollably.

Jet packs hooo!
John Anderton is a conflicted character. He joined the department because of a family tragedy he has never recovered from and he often goes on late-night jogs to buy drugs from the shady parts of town. Despite this, he really believes in the cause he is working for and fights to maintain its reputation.

The film raises questions such as ‘How can you arrest someone for a crime that hasn’t been committed?’ Just because someone plans to do something, doesn’t mean they will go through with it. Near the start of the film there is a nice little exchange between John and Danny. John throws a ball, which rolls along towards the edge where Danny catches it.
John: “Why'd you catch that?”
Danny: “Because it was going to fall.”
John: “You're certain?”
Danny: “Yeah.”
John: “But it didn't fall. You caught it. The fact that you prevented it from happening doesn’t change the fact that it was *going* to happen.”
This is how he justifies the work of the Department of Precrime. They catch murderers before they commit the crime. The fact that nobody dies is a wonderful added bonus.

Minority Report is an enjoyable movie, whose strength lies in its vision of the future and its intriguing story. The special effects are seamless, John Williams’ score is memorable and Spielberg’s direction is masterful.


  1. I re-watched Minority Report a few months back for my summer marathon and was reminded of how intelligent the script is in that movie. The dilemma in which the John Anderton character is caught is billiant, having to foil the precogs in order to resist arrest all the while believing in their perfection. What did you think of the ending however. In my review ( I elaborate a bit on what I thought would have been a devilishly good ending, but I'd like to read your take.

  2. I didn't have as much of a problem with the ending as I know others have had. It would have been cool if they'd gone the darker route but that would have taken a lot of guts because don't know whether the majority of the audience would have appreciated it. Audiences of mainstream like their satisfying endings :)


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