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Minority Report (2002) – Movie Review

Minority Report movie poster

Written by: Jon Cohen & Scott Frank, based on the short story by Philip K. Dick
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max Von Sydow, Kathryn Morris, Samantha Morton

My Advice: Don’t Miss It.

Welcome to the middle of the 21st Century. Washington D.C. apparently was overrun by homicide a few years back, so they’ve established something called Precrime. Thanks to some precogs they keep locked up in the basement, the cops are able to bust you for murder…before you even commit the deed. It’s so effective, they haven’t had a single homicide in three years and the program’s about to go nationwide. John Anderton (Cruise) is the head burrito of Precrime in the field, and he’s damn good at what he does. However, when the precogs suddenly show him to be the next perp to be taken down, Anderton knows something has gone horribly wrong. But can he stay away from his old buddies long enough to figure out what the hell’s going on?

[ad#longpost]You know, when the year’s movies started to shape up, I wondered what in the world Spielberg and company were thinking. Here you have this summer tentpole flick coming–but it’s not on radar at all. No bigass ad campaigns, no nothing. It was as if they were trying to sneak up on people. Now that I’ve seen it, it all makes sense: it’s just a damn good movie. It doesn’t need a $40 million marketing assault. It’s understandable that I would be so disoriented by this flick. After all, it is a kickass, dense sci-fi action thriller hybrid that delivers and then some. I haven’t seen one in so long, no wonder I didn’t recognize it at first.

The cast all hit their marks and blow through them. Cruise plays The Fugitive on crack to the hilt. Farrell, I think, is required by law to be in every other film released these days, which is okay because he continues to impress. Max Von Sydow is Max Von Sydow, and do I really need to explain myself further? Also of note is Samantha Morton. It’s hard to believe that Jane Eyre is almost bald and screaming about the future, but she manages to bring some humanity to her character–hard to do given the context. Excellent bit players are scattered throughout: Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Stormare, and Jesus, is that really Arye Gross at the beginning?

However, the cast is not the best part of the film–not by a longshot. What’s really impressive is to see a script in this day and age that manages to cover all the bases: it entertains, it thrills, it makes one think…the list goes on and on. It manages to do all this and keep up a breakneck pace that never feels forced. Are there parts that might seem as though we’ve been there before? Probably, but the pace keeps you from thinking too hard about it–and regardless, when you do clue in to what’s going on (which takes some time, rest assured), the mood and the tension will still make you gnaw on the seats in the cinema.

Everything on the crew end of things is top notch. The John Williams score keeps the pressure on, the cinematography by Spielberg co-conspirator Janusz Kaminski is slap perfect, and the effects take us into the first immersive sci-fi world that makes sense–let me repeat that: makes sense–in quite some time. Like a roller coaster ride but with extra g-forces, you just can’t help but grin while watching it. What’s interesting though is that this is the new Spielberg at work here. I can’t imagine Spielberg of ten years ago pulling this thing off; you see, at times it’s amusing but it also has incredibly dark concepts and moments at work in it.

Amazing things happen on multiple levels and it’s worth at least a couple of viewings. This because it’s a rare breed: a good, solid entertaining flick. Thank all the Gods.