Minority Report (12)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/03/2002

Four out of five stars
Running time: 148 mins

Impressively dark, imaginative, exciting, noir-ish sci-fi thriller with a superb performance by the Cruiser – this is Spielberg’s best film in ages.

If you’re going to adapt a sci-fi thriller, the novels of Philip K. Dick are a good place to start, as evidenced by the success of both Blade Runner and Total Recall. Thankfully Spielberg has seen the light –despite the relative box-office failure of A.I. - and, as a result, has delivered both the second best blockbuster of the summer and his best film for Quite Some Time.

Zero Crime

The year is 2054 and the crime rate in Washington has dropped to zero, thanks to a trio of ‘pre-cogs’ who successfully predict crimes before they happen, allowing the police to arrest people for crimes they are about to commit.

Tom Cruise stars as detective John Anderton, in charge of the pre-crime division, who finds himself on the run for a murder he hasn’t committed yet. He’s pursued by a dogged investigative agent, played by rising star Colin Farrell in a role originally earmarked for Matt Damon.

The design of the film is nothing short of astonishing, with ‘vertical’ freeways and billboards that speak to you directly, alongside the expected huge advances in video and TV technology. Having said that, it’s a little odd that the Crime Prediction Machine still has to engrave the perpetrator’s name on a little wooden ball before sending it down a twisty-turny chute, but –hey- anything in the name of suspense.

Cocky Grinning Machine?

The acting is superb – Cruise gives a complex, dark performance that is a world away from the cocky grinning machines he usually plays. He’s ably supported by Farrell and by Samantha Morton, as the pre-cog who holds the key to his fate. Farrell really makes the most of his role, particularly in his scenes with Cruise – their confrontation in the lift is a definite highlight.

There are also some terrific scene-stealing performances by character actors such as Tim Blake-Nelson (from O Brother Where Art Thou) as the keeper of the ‘jail tubes’, and by Peter Stormare (from Fargo – can the Coens spot great character actors or what?), as the demented eye-surgeon who gives Cruise an impressively squirm-inducing eye transplant.

The film definitely has its fair share of wildly implausible moments, such as the ridiculously lax security measures at the pre-crime lab or Cruise’s not-fooling-anybody “ugly” disguise (which is still, admittedly, uglier than his make-up in Vanilla Sky).

However, these are compensated for by some truly jaw-dropping moments (the ‘spiders’ in the apartment block for one) and a succession of extremely tense scenes. There are also plenty of nods towards other films (L.A.Confidential and Snake Eyes spring to mind) to keep film-geeks happy, along with a number of ‘running’ gags about running (Cruise has a reputation as Hollywood’s best onscreen ‘runner’).

Similarly, Spielberg keeps it all moving along so fast that you don’t begrudge it the buttock-challenging –ahem- running time.

To be fair, it suffers from Spielberg’s ‘three endings’ syndrome (see also A.I.) but overall this is an intelligent, immensely enjoyable sci-fi thriller that’s head and shoulders above the usual summer blockbuster nonsense.

Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Minority Report (12)
Be the first to review Minority Report...
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03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

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04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

05 A Most Violent Year (15)

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Content updated: 20/08/2018 07:30

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