Minority Report

Year: 2002
Studio: 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Tom Cruise/Paula Wagner
Writer: Phillip K Dick
Cast: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max Von Sydow
Steven Spielberg seems to have just been breezing through easy projects lately. Not that this isn't a good movie, but it's nowhere near the groundbreaking form we expect from him. And it could have been any director and star - the pairing of such a directing and an acting talent promised far more than it delivered.

Having said that, it wasn't a bad movie. Parts of the backstory were confusing and the twist ending was visible a mile away (you'd think a director of Spielberg's calibre would be above the old 'I didn't say she drowned' trap).

Cruise is John Anderton, a cop with a Hollywood 'past', having lost his son in an abduction, and the commander of Precrime, a police agency of the near future where, channelling the visions of three psychic mediums, the agency pieces together where a murder will take place and shows up to stop it. When they produce an image of Anderton committing a murder of a man he doesn't know, he has to go underground (in a hybrid Huxley/Orwell society where The System knows where all the happy consumers are) and work out what's going on.

From there, a better than average action/chase movie ensues, interspersed with themes as good as any Spielberg movie has. Individual freedom is touched on by the lot of the psychic siblings and their virtual imprisonment despite their humanity, and cause and effect and the question of action implicating guilt are cleverly interspersed (in the conundrum 'should any law enforcement body have the mandate to incarcerate before any crime has been perpetrated?').

The single outstanding aspect is Spielberg's vision of the future - the computers and disks, drug inhaler, holographic digital video, the cars and highways scaling skyscrapers (the setting for a brilliantly dizzying chase sequence). The most prophetic (maybe unwittingly) insight was of a future without privacy, where retinal scans are everywhere, from stores - where virtual salespeople hawk their wares to you by name - to transport.

Technical brilliance, moments of humour and something to say make it worth seeing, but a lazy project make it worth remembering that both Cruise and Spielberg have done a lot better.

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