Minority Report (2002)

Minority Report (film)
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Quotation: Everybody Runs

Elizabeth I is quoted as saying that she did “‘not [like] to make windows into men’s souls and secret thoughts.”    In practice, that sentiment is not especially popular in governance.  In Minority Report, the authorities open window to everyone’s secret thoughts and the results are convoluted to say the least.

Philip K. Dick, the darling of sci-fi movie makers, provides a short story as the framework for Steven Spielberg.

Futuristic oracles, 3 genetically altered pre-cogs, predict when someone is about to commit murder.  The murderer’s name is inscribed on a ball which is a nice visual but makes no sense.  Then the cops of the future like John Anderton (Tom Cruise) work backwards and figure out who is the most likely suspect and arrest him or her before the crime is committed.

All is well in Anderton’s life until he is tagged as a potential murderer.  Thereupon, he has to elude the cops and figure out his own motive and stop himself before it’s too late.  The key to the puzzle is the minority report.

I’m surprised that this system is not shown to be unacknowledged but widely abused.  Wouldn’t politicians rid themselves of undesirables right and left?  Would there be any marriages or families intact?

It’s a Hitchcockian thriller in that an innocent man (for now) is being hounded by authorities and he must extricate himself.   As reviewers point out, there is a lot of film noir lighting in this film.  Anderton is cynical, drug addicted, and morose.  He is also the purest man in a very corrupt world.

It was entertaining and had an interesting premise.  I didn’t even mind Cruise, though usually I have little use for his acting.

The short story on which the movie was based has several differences.

The most obvious change seems to be cosmetic:  Anderton is older and balding in the story and the precogs are physically and mentally handicapped.  The subplot about Anderton’s murdered son just adds drama and intensity.  The biggest difference is the choice that Anderton makes with his information.  It’s not surprising that Philip K. Dick and Steven Spielberg have different philosophies about free will and crime.

Other comparisons – onetwothree

Reviews:

Spirituality and Practice – review

Flick Filosopher – review

Mr. Cranky – review

James Bowman – review

Reel Views – review

Salon.com – review

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