Movie #23 2021: Minority Report (2002)

When it comes down to it, I’ve not actually seen that many Spielberg films. Of course, I’ve seen the usual suspects (E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List), but very few of his ‘less spectacular’ movies. I have seen Lincoln but again, that’s simply because I’m a US politics nerd.

Do you know how many films he’s directed when all is said and done? 49. He has 49 movie directing credits, only 4 of which are short films, and 3 are yet to be released. Basically, I’ve only seen 28% of his movies, which is not that many when you think about it. As a result of all these facts, I decided to give Minority Report a go.

Taking place in the not-too-distant future, Minority Report stars Tom Cruise as leading man John Anderton, who is a ‘precrime’ police officer. The premise lies in the fact that the late 21st Century has invented a specific type of software that predicts crimes before they happen. Known as the ‘Precrime’ department, presumably within the confines of the American Department of Justice, the faction work to arrest people who are just about to commit heinous crimes (usually murder) before they actually go through with it. It all goes Pete Tong quite quickly though, when Anderton’s name comes up as someone who will commit murder within the next 36 hours. As a result, he must go on the run before his fellow agents catch wind of it and track him down.

To begin, it must be said that it’s quite cute that this is how Spielberg sees the future, but watching Tom Cruise wave his arms about like a proper tit in front of an electronic screen is so cringeworthy. That’s right: Cruise won’t particularly wow you with his performance as usual here, but being the action movie superstar that he is, he does an admirable job due to his physicality.

Aside from Cruise’s wild flailing, this is a really interesting concept that Spielberg brings to life phenomenally well. Though it’s a little dated in terms of CGI almost 20 years on, the mind-bending nature of the questions of time and morality keep it so engrossing that it doesn’t matter. That is, for the most part. By the time the final twenty minutes or so came around, I’ll admit that I lost interest a little bit. (Boy, does Spielberg love a long movie?) However, that’s just me having a poor attention span, so you may feel entirely differently.

There are other strong positives to Minority Report though that certainly make it worth your time. Though it’s not his best movie, Spielberg once again does something here that he does better than anybody: he creates and immerses the viewer into an entirely new world in under 45 minutes. It’s so masterful, and he puts together some innovative action sequences to match in this one. I’m not sure there’s another director that trumps Spielberg ability to do that, and this film is only more testament to his talent.

Even the biggest directors have their inspirations though, and Spielberg is no different. The references inspired by A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey are wonderful and rife here, making this whole thing feel like a love letter from Spielberg to his director peers. Along with the cool concept, that’s my favourite thing about this movie. 

As previously alluded to, it’s a tad too long and some of the middle parts with the extended chase scenes could have done with a trim. However, the brilliant direction and the narrative itself keep this movie in the “highly entertaining” camp, even if Cruise is irritating as usual.

Spielberg’s best? No. Worth it regardless? Absolutely.

Minority Report is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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