Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Scott Frank, Jon Cohen
Based on: Philip K. Dick‘s short story The Minority Report
Cast: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow, Steve Harris, Neal McDonough, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jessica Capshaw, Frank Grillo, Daniel London, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Stormare, Jessica Harper
Seen on: 8./9.10.2022
John Anderton (Tom Cruise) leads the precrime division – arresting people before they can commit their crime. This is possible through visions by the precogs, and has proven to be very successful in eliminating violent crime in Washington. Time seems ripe to take the concept nation-wide which is why Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) is sent to supervise the division’s work before legislation will be passed. In this politically senistive time, a new vision comes in – and it shows none other than John Anderton himself committing a murder. Suddenly John finds himself running from a system he thought to be infallible.
Minority Report is a very well executed science fiction film that builds from an interesting concept in a sometimes maybe too predictable story.
Don’t ask me why I have never seen this film until now. It would seem like the kind of film that I would have watched in the cinema when it came out. But here we are. Watching it 20 years after it came out, I can say though that the film still works very well, despite the fact that some of the futuristic technology already feels quite retro. The obsession with transparent screens and control via exaggerated hand movements dates the film unmistakably.
But that’s alright because the film doesn’t depend on “look how cool this tech is”, the tech is here to tell this story and to ask some questions about free will, and power, and how much suffering (and whose) we have to endure in the world in exchange for letting people be free. These questions are maybe not the newest, and the film walks well-worn paths, but it does in such a well-constructed way that you don’t really mind.
The familiarity of it does mean that some plot points aren’t quite as surprising as the film supposes. That’s not a problem overall, though. I did like and didn’t expect Witwer’s character arc. It’s a shame that the film doesn’t spend more time on him. I also found it regrettable how the precogs were treated, only affording Agatha (Samantha Morton) a bit of individuality, but overall not much agency.
Minority Report is probably not the best film Spielberg has ever made, but it is proof (if that’s even necessary) that he can still make films that are entertaining, tense and have a political perspective. It’s precisely for the latter that the film can stand the test of time as well as it does.