Minority Report (2002)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Tom Cruise/John Anderton
Max Von Sydow/ Burgess
In the future, a new law enforcement wing called “The Pre-Crime Division” uses technology and three psychics to see crimes before they’re committed. When one of the unit’s top officers (Cruise) is accused of an impending murder, he goes on the lam in order to prove his innocence. With his old team relentlessly tailing him, the saying becomes true: Everybody DOES run!
"I've never heard of him, but I'm supposed to kill him in less than thirty-six hours"- John Anderton
I had zero expectations walking in to Spielberg’s latest offering: Minority Report. So sitting down, I was in a neutral mode on where I stood with this big summer gun. I love it when I’m in that state of mind when seeing a movie! Based on yet another Phillip K. Dick short story (Total Recall, Blade Runner, and Impostor), Minority Report wound up giving me eye candy galore and firmly grabbing my “stoogats” (Italian for balls) for most of its clock time. Yes, that’s a positive thing!
Although the flick does bring up some interesting ethical/social questions, it works harder at being an intriguing and jaw dropping sci-fi mystery/thriller. I immediately became immensely fascinated by the futuristic world before my eyes, I mucho dug the various groovy technical concepts, the detailed set designs and the solid visual effects (the cars, the jail, the temple the flying backpacks etc.… DAMN). I also felt deeply for the Tom Cruise character (Anderton is the name) and the storyline swiftly sucked me in like a “Hoover” working overtime. When the first plot turn eventually kicked in, it whooped my bootie all over my padded room.
Spielberg perfectly captures the momentum of the first twist and thankfully follows it with one of the more exhilarating extended chase sequences of the year (so far). I was wiggling in my seat with child-like glee relishing it all. Now that’s a freaking “man on the run” shindig if I ever saw one! WOW! Only a filmmaker of Spielberg’s caliber can pull off such an effect-heavy and ambitious action sequence. Another far out sequence that stood out for "moi" was the robo-spiders adventure. It fully cranked my “entertainment” dial to the max. The scene was brilliantly executed (loved the overhead shots) and next to the initial chase bit, was the more memorable event in the flick. Thank you big brother!
Once the first “Road Runner Cruise” sequence ended though, the movie chilled out to take some time to delve deeper into its mystery angle. Granted, the flick never wound up topping its first action sequence but on the bright side, the mystery was engrossing and kept me guessing for the first hour. The little spurts of odd/creepy moments (all about the eyeball stuff) and the consistently dazzling action sequences (the car factory bit) also helped keep me in the game. Another big plus is that I wound up really getting attached to waiflike cutie Agatha played by Samantha Morton (she reminded me of Leeloo from The Fifth Element) and I was very pleased when she took a more prominent role in the happenings. Tag to that the witty product placements that were spread about (I want a Pepsi now!), gnarly gadgets up the yahoo and the slick ass red Lexus that Cruise drove and you get a b-b-b-b-blast!! NOTE: I popped a woody for that Lexus…AND I'M NOT A CAR GUY!
On a negative standpoint, the film lost some of its grip on me by going too far into its mystery. I would’ve been happy with a more guttural and simple reason behind the madness but Spielberg (echoing the way he handled the finale of his previous flick A.I.) decided to push his conclusion one step too far, taking a more obvious/generic route of which I wasn’t too fond. Call me an asshole but for some reason I wanted a powerful downbeat ending. I almost got it but Spielberg stole it right from under me. Sneaky guy…real sneaky. Also, since I guessed early on where the movie was going with its déjà vu cap-off, I kept waiting for it to catch up with me. That made the last block less gripping, and my “stoogats” were breathing again (not good). My last beef with the movie is that I didn’t feel satisfied with the ambiguous answer that was given about the present state of Anderton’s son. I personally got really involved in that niche of the narrative and craved a definitive wrap up to it. I didn’t get it and that sucked the big one since the movie put so much emphasis on it throughout.
But when the jig was up, I still had a marvelous time with Minority Report. The film is expertly directed, has enough thrills to jack your blood pressure up to dangerous levels, actually gave me the creeps a few times (when that chick says murder…brrr), put out a couple of dark/quirky characters (freaky Peter Stormare in a cameo is always amusing), sported good performances all around (Farrell impressed me), had a couple of gripping subplots (I dug the estranged wife stuff) and for me, it was an extreme delight to see Tom “is he gay or not" Cruise tackle a darker type of role (keep it up, buddy). The overall experience was well worth the trip. RUN TIMMY RUN!!!!
We get some gun shot wounds, stab wounds and some loose, bloody eye balls.
Say what you will about Tom Cruise (Anderton) but you can’t deny that he’s been taking on ballsy projects lately. With Vanilla Sky and now this one, our little boy is all grown up. Cruise is very effective here as the sadness stricken drug addict cop and I for one love seeing the man in "dirtier" roles. Good stuff duder! Max Von Sydow (Burgess) does what he has to do competently. Colin Farrell (Witwer) holds his own against the Cruise machine and proves to us that he has what it takes to star in a blockbuster. I predict bigger things for the lad. I love Neil McDonough (Fletcher) and he’s kool here, I just wish we had seen more of him (he was also underused in Ravenous). Samantha Morton (Agatha) is simply amazing as the psychic chick with the most. She’s also pretty cute too!
T & A
Not much of that stuff but we do get Samantha Morton in see-through clothing and Cruise cruising shirtless.
Spielberg is on top of this one, delivering a washed out, bluish, grainy look. We also get slick camera angles, groovy quick cuts, bang on lighting and some suspense. Nice work, top dog! Props should also go out to cinematographer Janusz Kaminski for his astounding work here. That’s the dude who directed the underrated Lost Souls by the way. NOTE: Is it me or are there some leftovers of the Kubrick vibe Spielberg put out in A.I. shining in here? Sniff, sniff…I smelled some Kubrickesque jive in the house yo!
The subtle score by composer extraordinaire John Williams is impeccable and gives the images an extra layer on many occasions. Spot on!
Think a blown up sci-fi version of The Fugitive starring Tom Cruise with Colin Farrell acting as the Tommy Lee Jones character and you’ll get a good idea of what Minority Report is about. It's funny because before the film started I had no expectations but as it unraveled, they grew on me like fungus. I have a feeling that if I see the movie again I might like it even more since I know what the dealio is. Having said that, you can’t really go wrong with Cruise, K. Dick, Spielberg and sci-fi “bon-bon” mixed in the cinematic blender. I adored the premise and 85 percent of the execution. No doubt, it kicks some serious ass and is worth the hard earned green!
Matt Damon was originally up for the Colin Farrell role.
Samantha Morton was nominated for a best supporting actress award (Sweet and Lowdown) at the 2000 Oscar ceremony.
Jessica Capshaw (stepdaughter of Spielberg) plays Evanna in the film.