Minority Report (2002)


Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrel, Max von Sydow
Steven Spielberg

Rating: PG-13

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Review Posted: 6.24.02

Spoilers: Minor

Rating: 1.5/4


By Craig Younkin. | Read Review #2


"Minority Report" brings the exciting teaming of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg to the big screen for the very first time, only what they give us is something altogether depressing and bland. The film exists in the future, 2054 to be exact, where a department known as Pre-Crime is run, using pre-cogs (beings who can see the future) to forsee a crime before it happens. Detectives, led by John Anderton (Cruise), scout for the crime's location and just like that they have managed to prevent a murder.

Technically it's all ingenious, but where "Minority Report" fails is in the details. The subject of pre-crime is godly in scope, but the film only shrugs off the negative implications of playing God instead of using it to tell its story. All it does is unravel into a conventional, and overly talky mystery, where Cruise is framed for pre-murder and he must go on the run to figure out who exactly is setting him up.

The subject of "Minority Report" is a fascinating one, too. The minority report is something that is stored in the head of the pre-cog, and sometimes it shows that the prediction a pre-cog makes is not always accurate.  Sometimes a perpetrator will change his mind at the last second, but will still be taken to jail for pre-murder. The subject of whether or not a person will change his mind seems to be a serious issue, possibly brought up before the pre-crime department, yet it is instated into practicing law enforcement. Only later in the film is it brought up as a plot twist.

Also, in the film's most preposterous explanation, we hear that the pre-cogs can only predict murder, and that rape, drug use, and child molestation are non-predictory. Only in a pre-crime commercial, we hear that pre-crime offers security against all kinds of crimes, including rape. Another flaw appears later in the film when a pre-cog is able to tell Anderton exactly which way to go in order to escape incoming pre-crime cops.

The message that "Minority Report" lays on us is that each perpetrator has a choice, but this message is both muddled and unsatisfying. What about those murderers who have some kind of mental illness, or much like the opening sequence of the film indicates, a person operating out of rage and emotional strain? How can a person be expected to see that choice when he or she is not working under the right frame of mind? As we saw from the Colorado fire, a disaster can happen when someone's emotions take the better of them.

"Minority Report" is sadly just a popcorn flick, and a rather unexciting one at that. Spielberg again comes up with astounding looking visuals, showing us Tom Cruise jumping from car to car as they travel upwards, a car actually being built around Tom Cruise, a jet pack chase, and some very cool-looking mechanical spiders scanning the eyes of the people in a hotel in trying to find Anderton. These scenes look incredibly cool, but they are all lacking in real suspense.

Tom Cruise is also starting to wear patience as a lead hero. Here he is given a man with a very emotional past, first losing his son to a kidnapping and then his wife to a divorce. The flashbacks between him and his son barely seem the least bit touching, although the generic way the script adds them in don't help much, and actually caring whether or not Anderton manages to figure out the mystery becomes sort of a non-issue. This was done so much better by Matt Damon last week in "Bourne Identity" that seeing it again just seems redundant. Plus this film is so long, boring, and mostly talky, that the thrill is non-existent.

Colin Farrell does a much better job with the role of  an assistant with the attorney general, named Witwer. He is the only character in the film who seems to have a thinking head on his shoulders, and he is charismatic enough to make you wish he was the hero here. Samantha Morton also does an eerily creepy job here as one of the pre-cogs.

Only "Minority Report" is still a flop. It refuses to dig deep and it refuses to stop and think a minute about the details it is portraying on screen. Some people may enjoy it for it's special effects and popcorn feel but basically I was hoping for an Oliver Stone feel in what appears to be a Michael Bay movie. This is a depressing disappointment from Spielberg and Cruise.



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