Starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
Scott’s Review #1,318
Reviewed November 27, 2022
If you study his body of film work, the fascinating thing about acclaimed director Steven Spielberg is the growth and groundbreaking cross-genre categorization of many of his films.
Traversing blockbuster popcorn films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and E.T. the Extra-terrestrial (1982) to heavy drama with the 1993 masterpiece Schindler’s List, the man can do it all.
With 2002’s Minority Report, he bravely delves into science-fiction territory with a crime thriller and action tint. The film is tough to follow and mostly reminds me of Inception (2010), a Christopher Nolan vehicle influenced by this film.
Despite the cerebral tone, Minority Report is a fascinating study of futuristic crime-fighting styles with enough twists and turns to keep me engaged though I confess at times having no real idea what was going on plot-wise.
The casting of Tom Cruise is a major win. Who better to carry a film like this except maybe Bruce Willis though Cruise is a better actor. Nonetheless, he is believable as a crime chief with a slick edge and a wicked smile.
Unsure whether or not to trust him he remains at the heart of the success of the film.
Based on a story by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, ‘Minority Report’ contains a perfect premise to bring to the big screen. Set in Washington D.C. in 2054, police are now intelligent enough to utilize a psychic technology to arrest and convict murderers before they commit their crimes.
The setup is fabulous and rife with possibility.
Cruise plays Chief John Anderton, the head of this Precrime unit, and is himself accused of the future murder of a man he hasn’t even met. Following an audit, it is predicted that in thirty-six hours, Anderton will kill a man who is a stranger to Anderton.
Anderton flees, prompting a manhunt led by Witwer (Colin Farrell).
It is revealed that Anderton joined the Precrime program after his son was kidnapped and never found. He is depressed, withdrawn, and addicted to hard drugs, and his wife Lara (Kathryn Morris) has since left him.
But is this all a setup and are others involved in the conspiracy?
The plot goes way off the rails in terms of explanation or logic but the fun is in trying to put the never-ending puzzle pieces together. Truthfully, after a while, I simply gave up this approach and enjoyed the visual eye candy and terrific futuristic style.
I rarely am a proponent of visuals over storytelling but the intelligence of the sequences and the thrilling nature of the acting assured me there was something there. I just wasn’t completely getting it.
Since it’s directed by Spielberg I was confident that the complexities I was being served were not shit. I was comforted by this knowledge and my enjoyment escalated.
Enough props can’t be handed out for Cruise’s dynamic performance parlayed by the coldness and harshness of the overall tone of the film.
Many of Spielberg’s films are heartwarming but this was not to be found in Minority Report (2002) and I liked it even more for that reason.
Spielberg gets another win by suckering me into a cinematic world that he magically can create. This time with perplexities and perhaps even some influence from the Matrix (1999) movies.
Oscar Nominations: Best Sound Editing