Minority Report
"Wildly ambitious, mindblowingly-creative and pulse-pounding."

Though there haven’t been any murders in Washington DC for six years thanks to John Anderton’s (Tom Cruise) Pre-Crime law-enforcement agency (which uses three psychic humans to tell police where killings will take place), the department is under investigation. Ran by Director Lamar Burgess (Max Von Sydow) with John as his man-in-charge, Pre-Crime is shaken up when Federal Detective Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) arrives and the psychics predict that Chief Anderton will commit the next murder...

Having wanted to work together for years, bearded-storyteller Steven Spielberg and beaming-pretty boy Tom Cruise finally do. Choosing to take on the latest Hollywood adaptation of acclaimed author Philip K Dick (others include Blade Runner and Total Recall) as their collaborative playground, the dynamic duo held a meeting of minds and got their creative on. As such, it’s fair to say the expectation surrounding Minority Report was higher than John Anderton with a jet-pack.

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Thankfully ‘Cruiseberg’s about-time collaboration lives up the hype and then some. Though not quite the pumped-up actioner the trailer suggested, Minority Report blends humanity, intelligence and action (roughly in that order) into an intriguing whodunit/whowilldoit-type mystery. Filmed by regular cinematographer Janusz Kaminski in a near-monochromatic fashion full of bright whites, muted blues and desaturated blacks, Spielberg renders a world devoid of colour and brimming with paranoia. Yes there are dots of humour provided to stop a bleak overload (like Anderton’s trip to Gap), but the beard’s first attempt at noir is as dark as he’s gone yet.

Plot-wise, while there are shades of the widely-slated-yet-actually-quite-good Van Damme flick Timecop (cop hero uses time tech to stop crimes and spends spare time watching videos of happier family times), there’s a lot more going on here than an action vehicle using time-travel as a clothesline upon which to hang set-pieces. Instead of just focusing on the chase aspect, Minority Report asks the audience questions, offers food for thought (mind the sandwiches in the fridge, though) and takes on one of the most interesting questions of modern time. To clarify, said question is whether life is pre-destined or a consequence of free-will, not Tom Cruise’s actual height.

However, for those who found themselves bored in the last paragraph, Minority Report also has the action required to sufficiently raise pulses. Though not filled with wall-to-wall bangs and explosions, there are more than a few impressive sequences (Anderton leaping cars on a massive incline springs to mind) that utilise the seamless combination of top-drawer, standard-setting CGI and a lead man willing to hang from or jump off anything. Honestly, his life insurance while filming must be enormous.

As for the Cruister, he’s on top shouty form (DON’T YOU EVER SAY HIS NAME!). Given that he’s always more comfortable playing the ‘damaged persona looking for happiness’ than the guy who actually gets it, Cruise fits Anderton well and convinces as a man who would give his eyeballs (and nearly does) to find out what happened to his son. Spoiled for choice around him, support is strong from pillar-of-class von Sydow, excellent accent-hider Farrell and skinhead shoulder-hanger-on Samantha Moron.

Wildly ambitious, mindblowingly-creative and pulse-pounding when it wants to be, Minority Report can easily sit as one of the best features both Spielberg and Cruise have put their name to. Don’t just walk to see this one, run. Everybody runs.

Reviewed on: 10 Oct 2009
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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:

Jennie Kermode ****
Angus Wolfe Murray **1/2

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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