A character in Steven Spielberg's brilliant new film Minority Report
begins to strangle a gentically engineered plant/animal creature to illustrate what the film is about at its core: the greatest motivation for any life on earth is survival, and is there any length to which it won't go to insure just that? Already you have probably heard every news or commentary source around make comparisons between author Phillip K. Dick's concept of "precrime" and the current war on terror. Spielberg has made an entertaining action noir that leaves us pondering these ideas without being condescending enough to shove answers down our throats.
I have said it before and I'll say it again, Spielberg can orchestrate action like all get out. The survival theme jives with the films tag "everybody runs", and most all the action seems to flow from the narrative. Cruise's character Anderton must defeat the police after him, but must take special care not to seriously injure them as he believes he is not truly a killer. The action is fun for its small innovations, cleverly using the futuristic surroundings. Those surroundings also contain a number of smart gags about the insidious yet inevitable bombardment corporate America has in store for us. Walking into a Gap will soon be much like what happens when you log on to Amazon.com right now ("Hello Al, I see you haven't purchased the new A.I.
Special Edition DVD. Yet.") The movie is filmed with a washed out grainy tone that adds to the cold noir feel but I think also allows the futuristic effects to blend in more reasonably with the live action shots.
The whole idea of the pre-cogs is interesting. They have apperently been drafted in the war on terror. Anderton says, "It's easier if you don't think of them as human". He is so blinded by the precrime ethos he can say something like that in a casually instructive tone to a new acquaintence. The pre-cogs are all too human, and just as fallable. Anderton goes to steal one of the three gifted pre-cogs, the girl Agatha played by Samantha Morton, for his own purpose believing she saw a different future for him. Rather the two end up rescuing one another in a bizarre relationship that unfolds between the emaciated girl and Cruise. They seem to reflect each other, both frail yet powerful. They need each other, though they aren't aware yet how much they mean to each other's happiness. It is a kind of strange eroticism that unfolds from one carrying the other around physically, the other way around mentally, and it culminates in a BREATHTAKINGLY beautiful shot of them in each other's arms, facing away from the other. Not embracing but intimate. I was startled by the composition and it ranks for me as one of the most memorably dramatic film images I know.
The film's only weakness is a rather muddled ending. Once all the cards are on the table, the film should have ended more expediently. These are small potatoes, however, when there is so much greatness in the film. Minority Report
is the best 2002 film of the year thus far and another chapter in Spielberg's brilliant career. A-