Full of flawed characters and shot in grainy de-saturated colours, Steven Spielberg's Minority Report
is futuristic film noir
with a far-fetched B-movie plot that's so feverishly presented the audience never gets a chance to ponder its many improbabilities. Based on a short story
by Philip K Dick, Minority Report
is set in the Orwellian near-future of 2054, where a trio of genetically modified "pre-cogs" warn of murders before they happen. In a sci-fi twist on the classic Hitchcockian wrong man scenario, Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the zealous precrime cop who is himself revealed as a future-killer. Plot twists and red herrings drive the action forward and complications abound, not least Anderton's crippling emotional state, his drug habit, his avuncular-yet-sinister boss (Max Von Sydow), and the ambitious FBI agent Witwer (Colin Farrell) snapping at his heels.
Though the film toys with the notion of free will in a deterministic universe, this is not so much a movie of grand ideas as forward-looking ones. Its depiction of a near-future filled with personalised advertising and intrusive security devices that relentlessly violate the right of anonymity is disturbingly believable. Ultimately, though, it's a chase movie and the innovative set-piece sequences reveal Spielberg's flair for staging action. As with A.I. before it, there's a nagging feeling that the all-too-neat resolution is a Spielbergian touch too far: the movie could satisfactorily have ended several minutes earlier. Though this is superior SF from one of Hollywood's greatest craftsmen, it would have been more in the spirit of Philip K Dick to leave a few tantalisingly untidy plot threads dangling.
On the DVD: Minority Report on disc brings up Janusz Kaminski's wonderfully subdued cinematography in an ideal anamorphic widescreen print. John Williams's Bernard Herrmann-esque score is the major beneficiary of Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS sound options. There is no commentary, and the movie plus everything on the second disc, which contains five short featurettes and an archive of text and visual material, could probably have been squeezed onto just one disc. The featurettes are: "From Story to Screen", "Deconstructing Minority Report", "The Stunts of Minority Report", "ILM and Minority Report" and "Final Report: Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise". There are subtitles in English and Scandinavian languages. --Mark Walker
DVD Universal, Studios, Region 2 PAL 2002 146 mins