The year is 2054 and there is a new crime fighting force in Washington, D.C. No, it isn't the Homeland Security Division, but the Department of Pre-Crime, a Thought Police of sorts who, with the aid of some psychic friends called "pre-cogs", can see the details of a murder before it takes place and then arrest the would-be perp before any crime is actually committed, thus saving any would-be victim(s). Pre-Crime, which has made the Nation's Capitol murder-free (this must be a sci-fi story) is about to go national. However, Washington's other Three Letter Agencies still need to have pissing contests and the DOJ, no doubt sensing its purpose threatened, sends in Danny Witwer (Colin Farrel) to find glitches and inconsistencies in the program. Staunchly defending the perfection of the program is Division Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise), who would have benefited had the program been enacted 6 years earlier when his child was abducted and murdered. By day he is the leader of an elite crime fighting force, and by night he tweaks out to virtual reality recordings of his destroyed family. Anderton finds Witwer a minor annoyance until he comes across a bigger headache, having the crack-baby clairvoyants point the finger at him for murder. Compounding things is that he's to murder someone who he doesn't even know. Now on the other side of Pre-Crime, Anderton flees to find the person he is supposed to murder (but doesn't plan on murdering him), and thus the movie begins to beg the question of "predestination or free-will". Anderton knows he's not going to kill anyone, and wonders if the pre-cogs are wrong and now begins looking for the fallibility of the system. He learns from pre-cog pioneer Iris Hineman (Lois Smith), who now lives in seclusion, that the pre-cogs are never wrong....however, don't always agree. When there is a disagreement, a minority report is generated and it is within this report that Anderton will find his answers. So, from there he goes to look for his minority report, a place to hide, and of course, the person he's supposed to knock-off, knowing that by proving himself innocent, he will prove that Pre-Crime is fallible and his pet project will be ineffective.
Now the movie could be carried on the strength of it's plot, but Spielberg gives us more. As is becoming common and almost expected now, the special effects and computer-generated graphics give us futuristic skyscrapers where cars glide on their vertical surfaces. Spider-bots that click about, scanning retinas and relaying information to law enforcement, giving an Orwellian sense to the movie. The computerized toys and tools used at the Pre-Crime office defy my description and are best seen. Also becoming common in movies with intense CGI content is flat, wooden acting. That wasn't the case here. Cruise gave a convincing performance of a tormented father who is unable to forgive himself for the loss of the child and eventual break up of the marriage. Colin Farrel does a good job of making you snicker every time he comes into a scene. His sharp character does a good job of making you wonder just what his intentions are. Samantha Morton (who should NEVER leave home without cosmetics) does a solid job as Agatha, the strongest pre-cog, who is abducted by Anderton in his quest for the truth. There is a well choreographed scene involving her and Cruise, one of the few utilizing NO special effects at all, that makes the movie worth seeing alone.
I really liked this movie. Spielberg has redeemed himself from the disaster that was A.I. and gives us a futuristic story that fascinates, entertains, and provokes thought-- be your perspective is a Calvinistic, political, legal, or otherwise. Great film.
Billz Movie Worthiness Scale: A
Billz Movie Worthiness Scale Values:
A = movie tickets and popcorn for 2 (about $40)
B = buy the DVD when it comes out ($25)
C = rent it
D = wait for it to be on cable/pay TV
E = wait for it to be on regular TV
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