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"Minority Report" Movie Review

Samantha Morton and Tom Cruise in "Minority Report."
©2002 Twentieth Century Fox - All Rights Reserved.

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"Minority Report" is a little romance and a little comedy mixed up with a whole lot of souped-up action and death-defying stunts. Did it work? I'm still thinking about it. I left the screening thinking I liked the film, and alternately convinced I didn't. The strange thing is, I told a fellow journalist there's no way the film would be a middle of the road-er; you'd either love it or hate it. And yet, I loved it - the incredibly stunning futuristic scenery, the action sequences that leap off the screen, and the shockingly brutal Spielbergian vision of the world in the not too distant future - and I disliked it (hate's way too strong of a word) - the storylines that led to unbelievable conclusions and the fact that it's supposedly set only 50 years in the future.

Tom Cruise stars as Detective John Anderton, one of the head honchos of the Precrime unit (aka the thought police). Working with one of the absolute coolest visual effects to date - a large see-thru screen where the thoughts of three psychics can be observed and their images manipulated - Anderton and his crew arrest killers before they've had a chance to commit murder. Things go according to the Precrime unit's master plan as the crime rate drops to practically nil, and the unit's work is up for a public vote to see if the program can expand from its Washington DC base of operations into a nationwide program.

A wrench is thrown into the works when the psychics identify Anderton as a murderer. Anderton must do battle with his comrades to prove his innocence, in advance of his supposed crime. The scenes that ensue of Anderton fleeing the district and escaping from his police associates are some of the most heart-stopping, spellbinding chase sequences in recent memory. Cruise, as Anderton, fights off jetpack propelled police officers and leaps from a car that's traveling vertically down a skyscraper, temporarily escaping from his pursuers only to wind up encountering an old nemesis who performs one of the most grizzly surgery scenes on film.

An equally integral storyline involves Anderton's private life. After his son's disappearance, he and his wife go their separate ways. Unable to accept the loss of his son and his estrangement from his beautiful wife, Anderton seeks the comfort of mind-numbing drugs. The drug use and his intense love for his son and wife are central to "Minority Report's" storyline.

For the most part, Spielberg's "Minority Report" is nothing like his "A.I." - thank goodness - that is until you come to what I felt were inadequate endings that fail both films. "A.I." had me intrigued until Spielberg took the story past the bottom of the sea scene. "Minority Report's" ending isn't quite as contrived yet it left me feeling equally as disappointed. I was so wrapped up in the film that the ending kind of slammed me out of the movie's make-believe world.

What Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise have done successfully is provide moviegoers with an almost thrill-a-minute ride (sans the last 20 or so minutes), jam packed with cool cars, amazing yet believable special effects, creepy metal eye-probing spiders, and a not-too-distant future filled with advertising billboards that perform retinal scans and tailor their sales pitch to your specific shopping needs. Spielberg's future had one eye-popping (after you've seen the film you'll really understand that description) invention after another, the majority of which were visually striking.

Enjoy the first two hours of "Minority Report" and then prepare for what may be a disappointing wrap-up. For all that does work about the film - and that's a great deal - it's the ending that stuck with me and ultimately left me wondering if I enjoyed the experience or not. I know I'll be in the minority with my so-so review, however I've got to call them as I see them.

Overall Grade: B-

"Minority Report" is rated PG-13 for violence, brief language, some sexuality and drug content.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Producers: Jan de Bont, Bonnie Curtis, Gerald Molen and Walter F. Parkes
Executive Producer: Gary Goldman
Screenplay By: Scott Frank and Jon Cohen
Based on a Short Story By: Philip K. Dick
Director of Photography: Janusz Kaminski
Production Designer: Alex McDowell
Editor: Michael Kahn
Costume Designer: Deborah Lynn Scott
Visual Effects Coordinator: Lori Arnold
Stunt Coordinator: Brian Smrz
Music By: John Williams
Casting: Denise Chamian
Art Directors: Ramsey Avery, Leslie McDonald and Seth Reed
Set Decorator: Anne Kuljian

John Anderton - Tom Cruise
Ed Witwer - Colin Farrell
Director Burgess - Max von Sydow
Agatha - Samantha Morris
Jad - Steve Harris
Officer Fletcher - Neal McDonough
Knott - Patrick Kilpatrick
Gideon - Tim Blake Nelson
Lara - Kathryn Morris
Leo Crow - Mike Bender
Anne Lively - Jessica Harper
Rufus Riley - Jason Antoon
Dr. Solomon - Peter Stormare
Greta - Caroline Lagerfelt
Dashiell - Matthew Dickman
Arthur - Michael Dickman
Dr. Iris Hineman - Lois Smith

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