Just one year after tackling artificial intelligence in A.I., Steven Spielberg takes on a powerfully prophetic Philip K. Dick novel and turns it into a cinematic masterpiece. Minority Report is a thought-provoking and engaging science fiction movie featuring an all-star cast. It offers a stunning look into the future based on the work of 15 eminent scientists, writers, and other experts. Three years before the production began, Spielberg told them to envision what would 2054 look like. And envision it they did. Apart from this incredibly immersive and fully fleshed-out world, we also have a who-done-it mystery to solve.
We will be following John Anderton, a cop in a pre-crime division who instead of preventing future murders finds out he’s about to commit one. With a running time of almost two and a half hours, Minority Report is an epic saga questioning the morality of scientific development. Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite science fiction writers. And I absolutely loved almost all of the movies based on his short stories and novels. We’re talking about masterpieces like Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, and Screamers. His ability to sniff out futuristic abuse of power is truly uncanny.
Although we could argue that the foundations for such horrific developments have already been laid. Remember that someone out there is tracking your every movement online with complex systems trying to predict if you might be a terrorist or a murderer. Video and audio surveillance on a large scale made its way into standup routines. The questions of privacy, freedom, and, if we want to get more metaphysical, determinism are all valid questions right now. However, in the future, they will be paramount to optimal human existence.
I don’t want you to think that Minority Report is all brainy stuff because it most certainly is not. There will be over-the-top chase scenes, shootouts, and all the other fun activities usually reserved for more low-brow action science fiction movies. After all, we’ve got not only Tom Cruise but also Colin Farrell in lead roles. We also should not forget about Max von Sydow and Samantha Morton who plays Agatha, one of the precogs.
It is the year of our lord K. Dick 2054 and the world is a much different place than it was fifty years ago. There’s now a Precrime division of the police in charge of arresting people who are going to commit crimes in the near future. John Anderton heads this division with great success, eliminating almost all of the premeditated murders. However, the tables will soon turn as John himself will find himself in the role of perpetrator…
The thing that makes Minority Report so powerful and fascinating is the attention to detail. This extends not only to all the nifty gadgets and vehicles but characters as well. Under Spielberg’s expert direction, the pacing is very deliberate. You won’t even notice that the movie slows down and speeds up just at the right times. However, as time goes on, you might notice a plot hole or two. I don’t think this is too big of a flaw for a movie of this size. And I’m not sure you’re going to even notice them in the first or second viewing. As you might’ve guessed, this is a movie with a huge replay value.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Minority Report, check out District 9, Elysium, and I, Robot. All of them are modern and sleek-looking movies but if you’re looking for something a bit more vintage, I’ve got you covered. Just take a look at Gattaca, Strange Days, and Existenz.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Scott Frank, Jon Cohen, Philip K. Dick
Cast: Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow, Neal McDonough, Colin Farrell, Patrick Kilpatrick
Fun Stuff: The cinematography in Minority Report looks a bit off because Janusz Kaminski did a bleach bypass on the film. This is a chemical process in which silver remains in the emulsion with the color dyes. This affects saturation (decrease), exposure lattitude (decrease), contrast (increase), and graininess (increase). In my honest opinion, I think he should not have done this.