Although the title of this film is indeed “Minority Report,” such a report doesn’t hold much weight while we’re watching the screen. A better title would have been “Action Movie Starring Tom Cruise Running Away From Things a Lot,” although then people might think it’s Mission Impossible instead. I can see why they chose “Minority Report” for the title after thinking about that.
Cruise plays John Anderton, the Chief on a squad of people working in the “pre-crime” division of the police. What is “pre-crime,” you ask? Well, there are three people who can see into the future, see people commuting murders, and it’s up to the cops of pre-crime to stop the murders from occurring. Premeditated murders appear days in advance, meaning they’re easy to stop. Murders of passion, however, are given fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. As a result, there aren’t premeditated murders any more, because the criminals have gotten too smart for that.
Our opening action scene involves such a murder that will take place. The vision comes in, John and his fellow cops go to stop it, although they only manage to at the last second. The people involved, both the potential murderer and the potential victims, are never heard from again. I hoped they’d make a later appearance, but this scene was all about showing us this technology, and how it can be used to save lives — even though the person caught had yet to commit a crime.
This is what these people do day after day, although at night, John is addicted to some sort of drug. See, his child died 6 years ago, and this is how he deals with it, I guess. His wife, Lara (Kathryn Morris) left him too, citing that every time she looked at him, she saw her son. I suppose that’s a good enough reason, although it seems to have broken poor John’s heart. We see him re-watching video files of her and their son, and it breaks our heart to see him wanting his family to go back to normal so badly. This is a great example of the many “show, don’t tell” moments in Minority Report. Because of this, and a couple of other segments, we care about John, and we’re not even being told to by him or other characters.
It’s unfortunate for him that the next case he gets just might be his last. The vision comes up, and it’s him pulling the trigger. He then goes on the run, because the people captured before they commit their crime get “haloed,” or as I like to call it, “zombified.” They get put in a chamber where they’re forced to sleep until their prison sentence — presumably a lifetime — is up. We get a shot of these prisoners all emerging from the floor, strapped to their tube, and it’s astonishing to see how many have been caught.
There’s one problem with the basic premise that I took issue with, although it didn’t affect my enjoyment all that much. We’re told the premeditated murders have visions days in advance, allowing them to be easily stopped. John’s murder is supposed to take place in 36 hours, meaning it is a premeditated one. But John’s never even heard of the victim’s name, and never made any plan to kill him. It can’t possibly be premeditation, and yet, that’s how everyone gets such an advance warning.
That one little issue aside, I didn’t see many other problems with the plot, even if they’re undoubtedly there. We’re taken through a story with a lot of twists, particularly near the end, but instead of being confused, we have the same level of understanding as the characters. When a twist does occur, we don’t feel cheated by it, and I’ll admit that I didn’t see at least one of them coming.
If there’s one thing that definitely stands out, it’s the technology dreamed up for America in 2054. Even in just the first sequence, where John uses gloves and a magical screen to look at the visions, we see that the world has become quite an awesome place in regards to the technology that it offers us. In pretty much every scene, we see a new piece of shiny equipment that we want to play with or see more of.
However, such technology doesn’t get in the way of Minority Report having a very human feel. We care about the people in it, and even though it’s a sci-fi action movie, we never get away from the characters and what they’re feeling while jumping from hovercar to hovercar, or while they’re having their eyeballs replaced. Actually, in the latter, I was thinking more about how the people doing the procedure were feeling more than the patient, but the point still stands that I cared.
And even though it’s a very human movie, that doesn’t make the action less thrilling, or the story more intense. The tension builds and builds as we progress through the story, and this is helped along by a bunch of chase and fight scenes. Near the beginning, when John is first on the run, he’s being chased by an agent representing the Department of Justice (Colin Farrell), and it’s incredibly exciting. This is a long chase too, and it really shows how difficult it is to get away from the police. You can’t just turn a couple of corners and have them forget about you; instead, you need to run full-out for hours, while moving from place to place. You also have to outsmart them.
Minority Report is a really good sci-fi action film with a mind and with a lot of intense moments. The only real problem I had with it was how the main plot is set-up, but that’s quickly forgotten about when I realized that I was on the edge of my seat, eagerly anticipating each scene. Pretty much everything works here, and it’s an incredibly fun film to watch, thanks to the fantastic technology not getting in the way of its human element.