Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#610. Minority Report (2002) - Spielberg in the 21st Century

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

It's the year 2054, and the law enforcement agency known as Precrime stops killers before they get a chance to kill. Aided by three “Precogs” - beings with the ability to see into the future - Precrime has practically eliminated murder in Washington D.C. In fact, the program is so successful 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 has yet to happen, the entire agency is thrown into chaos.

A well-respected cop haunted by the tragic loss of his son years earlier, Anderton suddenly finds himself on the run from his former unit, which is placed under the temporary command of Agent Danny Witner (Colin Farrell). The clock ticking, Anderton has less than 36 hours to figure out why the Precogs have predicted he is going to murder a man he has never met before.

The futuristic gadgetry on display throughout Minority Report is impressive; the Precrime lab features an interactive video screen that monitors the Precog's visions, and it is cool as hell. But as Minority Report is quick to point out, advanced technology such as this, even when implemented for all the right reasons, can have its drawbacks.

The amount of control needed to maintain the Precrime unit's firm grip on law and order is all-encompassing, and the citizens of Washington D.C. are expected to surrender a few of their rights for the "greater good". Retinal scanners have been installed throughout the city, immediately identifying people as they enter the subway or shop at the mall. Cars travel on an advanced tracking system that allows the police, if necessary, to override a vehicle's navigation system. Then there are the spiders, small electronic devices that, when released into an apartment complex, crawl under locked doors to scan the retinal patterns of every occupant, in case any criminals are hiding out there.

Along with the intrusive technology, Minority Report explores the ethical ramifications of Precrime, a law enforcement unit that apprehends and incarcerates criminals before they've committed a crime. With this film, director Steven Spielberg and company have created an amazingly advanced society, yet also a cold, impersonal one, where privacy is no longer an option. Yes, Washington, D.C. is murder-free...but at what cost?

Spielberg lets his imagination run wild t
hroughout Minority Report, creating a world of awesome gizmos and gadgets that, in the end, are nothing more than the weapons of the bureaucracy controlling them, used to strip the population of its basic human rights. It is to Spielberg's credit that we sit in awe of his vision of the future while, at the same time, being quite relieved we're not living in it.


Barl3y said...

Remember watching this one in the cinema, as a sci-fan I loved the film, well paced and the action scenes were beautifully shot.
Also the holo screen has influenced many other movies, video games and real life tech.

DVD Infatuation said...

Barl3y: I saw this one in the cinema as well, and it was an entertaining experience.

And you're right! We're seeing that holo screen a lot more nowadays.

Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment!

Sir Phobos said...

I really do think this is up there with Spielberg's best stuff. It's great sci-fi, great action, and great drama all in one.

DVD Infatuation said...

@Sir Phobos: I agree 100%. I love this movie!

Thanks for the comment, and my apologies for the late reply