Minority Report

There is a fine line between fascination and bafflement. Minority Report steps over that line. Without intimate knowledge of Philip K Dick's short story, upon which this is based, you will need three viewings to understand what is going on. At 145 minutes a pop, that's seven-and-a-half hours to unravel the science that clothes a B-picture plot.

The year is 2054. Life is not so different, except some vehicles fly and haircuts remain short and ruttish. Obsession with security continues, with the FBI poking its nose into other people's business, while police techniques have taken an unexpectedly imaginative leap forward.

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Chief Paul Anderton (Tom Cruise) heads a PreCrime unit. The idea is that by anticipating murder before it happens, you can avoid it. Aided by PreCogs, perceptive individuals with psychic powers, cops can "see" a killing in advance. Having deciphered the exact location from clues within the "dream", they rush to the scene and arrest the perpetrator in the act of thinking about doing the deed.

Anderton is a tortured soul. He lost his only son and is estranged from his wife. He lives for his work and, as a result, is not a happy bunny. When the FBI, headed by a dapper agent (Colin Farrell), starts making enquiries into his unit's activities, he takes a dim view. Little does he know that he's being set up as a fall guy in a devious political ploy, concerning the future of PreCrime.

Or something... This may be completely misleading. Who's to tell? Elaborate special effects take centre screen, so that the human story is pushed to one side. There is no character development whatsoever. Samantha Morton, as a PreCog, spends most of the movie in a coma, floating in a pool. Farrell has style, but no content, and Cruise, for once, looks weighed down by the responsibility of his role. Anderton is two-dimensional and Cruise cannot start his heart beating.

There is little indication that this is a Steven Spielberg film. The master storyteller has been seduced by the lure of technology. Even his trademark sentimentality is missing.

In order to feel you need to empathise and in order to empathise you need to come close. It doesn't happen. There are too many gadgets in the way.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2002
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Sci-fi thriller about cops who predict murder before it happens with the use of psychics.
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Read more Minority Report reviews:

Stephen Carty ****1/2
Jennie Kermode ****

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Scott Frank, Jon Cohen, based on a short story by Philip K Dick

Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max Von Sydow, Louis Smith, Peter Stormare, Tim Blake Nelson, Steve Harris, Neal McDonough, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jessica Capshaw, Richard Coca, Keith Campbell, Kirk BR Woller, Klea Scott, Frank Grillo

Year: 2002

Runtime: 145 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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