Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12
  • Action, Mystery
  • 2002
  • 145 mins

Minority Report

Minority Report

Synopsis

Steven Spielberg directs Tom Cruise in this exciting but convoluted sci-fi thriller based on a Philip K Dick short story. A future police department has eliminated murder, thanks to clairvoyants who predict crimes - but is the system really flawles

About

You couldn't hope for a blockbuster with better credentials. Steven Spielberg, co-inventor of the modern event movie, directs Tom Cruise, the quintessential action actor, in a film based on a short story by provocative author Philip K Dick. Screenwriter Scott Frank was responsible for quality Hollywood fare like Get Shorty and Out Of Sight, while cinematographer Janusz Kaminski shot Spielberg's best-looking films and composer John Williams is synonymous with classic soundtracks. Minority Report can't quite live up to the expectations generated by these credits, but it's a thoughtful, finely crafted blockbuster nevertheless.

Tom Cruise stars as John Anderton, chief of Washington DC Justice Department's Precrime unit. Precrime? Well, it's 2054, and humankind has produced three psychics - or "Pre-Cogs" - who foresee murders and provide the Precrime cops with information to prevent them. Colin Farrell's FBI agent, Danny Witwer, points out the paradox that "You're arresting innocent people". He is determined to disprove Precrime ("There's always a flaw. It's human, it always is"), bringing him into conflict with Anderton. Then the Pre-Cogs predict that Anderton himself will murder someone. Attempting to elude the cops in this hi-tech city - where ID is checked via automatic retina scans - Anderton is determined to prove he's been framed.

As with Hollywood's other films based on Dick's writings - Blade Runner, Total Recall and Impostor - Minority Report is potentially confusing. The plotting of the first two thirds of the first keeps the action moving along in a relatively straightforward manner - as long as you're paying attention. Unfortunately, by the denouement the film has become bogged down in exposition - it's uncertain what the story's actual crime was, so this has to be explained before the true baddie can be exposed.

Action comes in the form of some excellent set-pieces, as Anderton tries to elude his former colleagues (headed up by McDonough, 'Band Of Brothers'). One sequence involves use of that winning boy's toy, the jet pack. Another presents us with an intriguing visualisation of a road network that consists of "magnetic-levitation" vehicles that are part-car, part-personal elevator. Another set-piece features a car production line - replete with robots and trapped arms, reminiscent of a scene in Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones.

Spielberg is, however, a better storyteller than Lucas. He also introduces some refreshing humour. This is mostly thanks to Peter Stormare, who plays a disgustingly grubby doctor who gives Anderton an eye transplant (so he can elude the retina scanners) and Tim Blake Nelson, who plays the warden at the 'prison' where the would-be murderers are stored in suspended animation.

The prison, or "containment unit" is one of several motifs reminiscent of The Matrix. There are also, inevitably, Blade Runner moments (dank slums, ubiquitous adverts - although the latter are funny as they speak directly to you, having scanned your retina, thus: "John Anderton - You could use a Guinness right now"). Other aspects are reminiscent of Spielberg's own A.I. Artificial Intelligence, notably the combination of high-tech and old world. And the Kubrick influences are also evident.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Tim Blake Nelson, Spencer Treat Clark, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Lois Smith, Peter Stormare, Kathryn Morris, Daniel London, Neal McDonough, Max Von Sydow
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Screen Writer: Scott Frank, Jon Cohen
  • Writer (Story): Philip K Dick
  • Producer: Walter F Parkes, Bonnie Curtis, Jan De Bont, Gerald R Molen
  • Photographer: Janusz Kaminski
  • Composer: John Williams

In a nutshell

Verdict It's classy and full of interesting sci-fi conjecture, but the sophistication and style of Spielberg's blockbuster is undermined by a convoluted story. More dynamic than A.I., Minority Report is the most fun a Spielberg film has been for a long while.

by Daniel Etherington

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Hear No Evil

    Hear No Evil

    Martin Sheen stars in this crime thriller about a deaf woman who becomes tangled up in the plans of a corrupt cop looking for a stolen coin that she unwittingly has in her possession

    On Film4: 7 May 1:15AM

  • Film4 Judy Moody

    Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer

    Judy Moody sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life in this live-action adaptation of Megan McDonald's popular book series

    On Film4: 9 May 2:45PM

  • Film4 Taken

    Alpha Males Season on Film4

    A testosterone-fuelled fortnight as the tough guys and top dogs of macho action do the heavy lifting in a season of brawny blockbusters on Film4

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook on Film4

    Jennifer Lawrence gives an Oscar-winning performance opposite Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's superior romantic comedy.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    #Film4GhibliVote

    Vote for your favourite Studio Ghibli fantasy, and we'll show it on Film4... Over the Easter Holidays, we celebrated the world of Japanese animation legends Studio Ghibli with our most complete sea

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share