Review by Elliott
Pre-Crime Public Service Announcer: Imagine, a world without, murder. 6 years ago, the homicidal rates had reached epidemic proportions. It seemed that only a miracle could stop the blood shed, but instead of 1 miracle, we were given 3, the precognitives. Within 3 months of the precrime program, the homicidal rates in the District of Columbia had reduced 90 percent.
Lamar Burgess: 6 Years in the precrime program, and there hasn’t been a single murder.
Pre-Crime Public Service Announcer: Now, the system can work for you.
Attorney General Nash: We want to make sure that this great system is what will keep us safe will also keep us free.
This is a relatively new movie right? That’s what I thought when I pulled it off my shelf. It has actually been 12 years since Minority Report was released. At the time it was known particularly for its cool futuristic gadgets, most specifically the computer interface. Now just over a decade later, most of that technology doesn’t seem that far fetched, in fact much of it either exists or is only a few years away. Aside from its portrayal of the future, this story also makes you consider an interesting ethical dilemma, the cost of freedom vs. peoples safety. Derek and Nate examined this dilemma in more detail last December.
Although I find the notion that we could predict future crimes ridiculous. I still think we can see some real life examples of the same principle. For instance, after 9/11 our world changed. The TSA, the NSA, the Patriot Act, and the list could keeping going. All of these, were established in order to provide safety. We may debate whether they actually do or not, but that is not the point. Often times these two elements are tied together. Think of the parent/child relationship. As parents give their children more freedom, there’s the potential for kids to find trouble. What this movie does, is make you consider how much freedom you are willing to give up for safety.
- Tom Cruise as Chief John Anderton
- Max von Sydow as Director Lamar Burgess
- Colin Farrell as Danny Witwer
- Steve Harris as Jad
- Neal McDonough as Fletcher
- The “PreCogs” were all named after famous mystery writers. Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie.
- Three years before production began, Steven Spielberg assembled a team of sixteen future experts in Santa Monica to brainstorm out the year 2054 for him. This team included: Neil Gershenfeld, professor at the Media Lab at MIT; Shaun Jones, director of biomedical research at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency); William Mitchell, dean of the school of architecture at MIT; Peter Calthorpe, the New Urbanism evangelist; Jaron Lanier, one of the inventors of virtual reality technology; Douglas Coupland, author and commentator; Stewart Brand, author, scientist and co-creator of The Well on-line community; Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine; Harald Belker, car designer and John Underkoffler, the science and technology advisor for the movie.
- In Philip K. Dick‘s original short story, John Anderton is short, fat and balding, i.e., not at all like Tom Cruise.
- Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg both agreed to waive their usual salary to help keep the film’s budget down under $100 million. They agreed to take 15% of the film’s gross instead.
The year is 2054, violent crimes have been virtually eliminated in Washington D.C., thanks to a new law enforcement unit known as “Pre-crime”. With the help of 3 Pre-Cogs(humans who live sedated in a high tech pool, that can see crimes before they happen), this unit has been able to stop thousand of murders and lock up potential killers. With the programs success in the capital, a vote is coming to make it a nation wide program. Chief John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, believes wholeheartedly in the system and doesn’t question, the ethical implication of what he is doing. His drive, to stop these crimes, comes from the unsolved disappearance of his young son years ago. One day however, his faith in the system is shattered, when the pre-cogs predict that in 36 hours he will kill someone, a man he has never heard of. The rest of the movie consists of action packed chase scenes, a crazy geneticists, and several plot twists as John tries to unravel this mystery and prove his innocence.
Despite its sci-fi futuristic theme, there are several good moral applications that can be considered. The 1st and easiest to look at, is revenge. Most people with any bible background understand that God condemns revenge (Rom. 12:19). The man that John is predicted to kill, ends up being his sons kidnapper. As John stands over this man with his gun aimed at him, you can clearly see the debate going on inside of him. This man deserves to be punished, but is John really a murderer? In the end, John choose justice, not revenge and doesn’t shoot the man. It’s at this point in the movie that we clearly understand that the pre-cogs aren’t always right and that every person has a choice. We all have our vices. For each of us, we have sins or temptation that are harder to say no to. But despite our inclination, we still always have a choice. In 1 Cor. 10:13, Paul states:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. There is always a choice and there is always an escape, we just have to choose it.
I rarely review movies that I don’t like and this movie doesn’t break that mold. It’s much darker than I remembered and has some very intense and gritty scenes. The plot is well thought out, thought not mind blowing, and I enjoyed the themes and underlying messages. The first time I saw it was back when it was theaters. I remember thinking the special effects and CGI were pretty great, but watching it now on DVD, it is beginning to look dated. However, some of that is intentional and due to the cinematography style. Overall, it feels very epic and futuristic, but in a believable way. Tom Cruise and the rest of the cast give solid performances. This one will be staying in my collection for a long time. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.