Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
Tag line: "The system is perfect until it comes after you"
Trivia: This is the first movie Steven Spielberg ever directed for 20th Century Fox
In the year 2054, there exists a law enforcement agency known as Precrime, an organization that actually stops killers before they've had a chance to kill. With the help of three “Precogs”, beings with the ability to see into the future, Precrime has eliminated murder in Washington D.C.. In fact, the program’s such a success that it's about to be implemented nation-wide. But when the chief of the Precrime squad, John Anderton (Tom Cruise), himself becomes a suspect in a killing that hasn't yet happened, the entire agency is thrown into disarray. A well-respected cop haunted by the tragic loss of his son years earlier, Anderton finds himself on the run from his former unit, which is placed under the temporary command of Agent Danny Witner (Colin Farrell). With the clock ticking, Anderton must determine why the Precogs have predicted that, in less than 18 hours, he’ll murder a man he’s never even met.
The futuristic gadgetry on display in Minority Report is damned impressive (the Precrime lab, which features an interactive video screen that monitors the Precog's visions, is fascinating). But as Minority Report is quick to point out, such advanced technology, even when implemented for all the right reasons, can have its drawbacks. The level of control this society requires to maintain its firm grip on law and order is all-encompassing, and demands the population of Washington D.C. surrender a few of their basic human rights. Retinal scanners have been installed throughout the city, identifying people as they enter subway cars or shop at the mall. Cars travel on an advanced tracking system that allows the police, if necessary, to override its navigation system and take control of the vehicle. Then there are the spiders, small electronic devices that, when released into a building, crawl under locked doors to scan the retinal patterns of every occupant, thus identifying any criminals who may be hiding there. Along with the technology, there are the ethical ramifications of Precrime, a law enforcement unit which apprehends and incarcerates criminals before a crime's been committed. Minority Report creates an amazingly advanced society, but a cold, impersonal one, where privacy has been sacrificed for the greater good. Yes, the city is murder-free...but at what cost?
With Minority Report, director Steven Spielberg allowed his imagination to run wild, producing a world of gizmos and gadgets that, in the end, is a slave to the machinery controlling it. It’s to Spielberg’s credit we sit in awe of his vision of the future, while at the same time quite relieved not to be a part of it.