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Film Review - Minority Report
Every once in a while, Steven Spielberg pulls out all the stops and reminds you why he's a master film maker. One such case is the film Minority Report.
In this adaptation of the Philip K Dick short story Spielberg takes you on a ride to a world where people are found guilty before they commit the crime. Where the line between the haves and the have-nots is stark. Where there is a barrage of advertising aimed at you all day during your routine life. Considering the current political climate in the United States, it doesn't seem so far fetched.
At the heart of this film is a twisted whodunit. It's sort of a whogonnadoit, since the main plot is that humans who see the future called precogs have predicted that our hero, John Anderton (Tom Cruise), is going to commit a murder. They know who he will kill, when, where and how. But Anderton doesn't even know the man.
The film is fast-paced drawing on a base of relationships Anderton has with co-workers, his ex-wife, his dead son, and a rival from another government agency. Motive is big in this film. I like that. Motive is a very over-looked element in many movies these days. For the most part this story works; all except two elements.
The end of this movie is a cop-out, no pun intended. There is a perfectly good dark ending that occurs twenty minutes before the film ends. But this is an American movie. We have to dig out of the sad hole to get a nice happy ending. I would have given the film full marks if Spielberg had used the first ending.
The second element of this film that doesn't work, I can't tell you. It would spoil the main plot, and I don't like ruining films for people. Just trust me, the main plot has a hole in the how-could-this-happen department.
I mentioned Spielberg is a master film maker. Where does that show in Minority Report? I've already mentioned the fact that this plot has motives and fleshed out characters with real relationships. But that's a function of writing, not film making. No, Spielberg whips out his magic wand when it come time to set up and compose the individual shots. The cinematography is outstanding. The most memorable shot is two characters on the opposing side of a conversation, actually hugging, facing in opposite directions, taking their opposing views. It's poetic. One male, one female, everything creates opposition, yet they almost appear to be the same person. This shot should be studied by film students. Shot for shot, this film blows away anything else I've seen this year.
Minority Report isn't a perfect film, but it's damned close to it.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Released in 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Mongo