A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.
In the year 2054 A.D. crime is virtually eliminated from Washington D.C. thanks to an elite law enforcing squad "Precrime". They use three gifted humans (called "Pre-Cogs") with special powers to see into the future and predict crimes beforehand. John Anderton heads Precrime and believes the system's flawlessness steadfastly. However one day the Pre-Cogs predict that Anderton will commit a murder himself in the next 36 hours. Worse, Anderton doesn't even know the victim. He decides to get to the mystery's core by finding out the 'minority report' which means the prediction of the female Pre-Cog Agatha that "might" tell a different story and prove Anderton innocent. Written by
Dick's Paranoia Watered Down to Hollywood Chase Flick
I went to see "Minority Report" as a Philip Dick fan, not for Tom Cruise.
As soon as I heard he was cast, I knew he was either mis-cast or the movie would substantially change the original story. Ed Harris would have been a brilliant choice for Dick's intent in showing a mid-life crisis of faith with bureaucracy, and more logically setting up the conflict with his older (Max von Sydow as his usual craggy self) and younger (terrifically aggressive Colin Farrell) competitors.
In Dick's story the titular discovery is a shocking revelation of the bankruptcy of policy-making behind bureaucratic intent, whereas here it's just a means to an end for Cruise's character to clear his name. Instead we get an action story that grafts Dick's story outline onto a tribute to George Lucas's brilliant student thesis project "THX-1138," which he himself later expanded into a feature film; I always cite those films as the best visual analysis of bureaucracy. I guess Spielberg wasn't satisfied that we never really knew what the politics were in Lucas's films so he provides explicit reasons via a personal rather than systemic conspiracy theory for the chase and an optimistic conclusion.
On its own, we get a rippling Hollywood chase movie with a soupcon of the old "The X Files" paranoia, now newly relevant about our Justice Dept. arresting people, and even several laughs.
The cinematography for the future is wonderfully metallic and there's so many clever CGI's that the long credits list three "in memoriam"s to colleagues.
Lois Smith is very effective as a cynical inventor, reminding me of the last time an older woman made a key appearance in a sci fi epic, "Outland" in a role not necessarily written for a woman.
John Williams's music is interferingly bombastic.
(originally written 7/5/2002)
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