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flick pick | Minority Report 2002
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Philip K. Dick [story], Scott Frank, Jon Cohen
Starring: Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell
Look for it at the video store under: sci-fi, action
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: action-packed, mind-bending
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis It's the year 2054, and John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is a detective heading up the innovative new Pre-Crime division of the Washington D.C. police force. Thanks to Pre-Crime, actual criminal acts in the D.C. area have become almost non-existent. With the aid of three Precogs, genetically-altered humans who can see crimes before they happen, the police are now able to locate would-be criminals before the actual crime ever takes place, swooping in to make an arrest before potential victims come to any harm. The D.C. Pre-Crime division has been a sort of government-sponsored test run for implementing similar units across the country; thanks to the unit's overwhelming success, Pre-Crime is set to soon go national, much to the delight of the politicians sponsoring the program. But concerns have been raised in Washington -- whether out of political envy or genuine ethical concern it's not clear -- and the Justice Department has stepped in to investigate. Anderton, who lost his only son in an unsolved kidnapping years ago, has been a staunch believer in the merits of Pre-Crime. But when the Pre-Cogs generate a report that fingers him as D.C.'s next pre-criminal, Anderton's forced to go on the run. Soon, Anderton finds himself conducting his own investigations, and discovers that while the Pre-Cogs can't make mistakes, they do sometimes disagree. With the help of a female Pre-Cog named Agatha [Samantha Morton], Anderton sets out to expose the flaws of the supposedly fail-proof system for which he was once the poster boy.

Review Minority Report is one of those movies I don't expect to like as much as I do. It stars Tom Cruise, for one thing, and if that weren't enough to scream "commercial drivel," it's directed by none other than Steven "Jurassic Park" Spielberg. The thing about both Cruise and Spielberg, though, is that for all the crap-o-la they've churned out in their long careers, each has also demonstrated the ability to turn out genuinely creative, thoughtful work from time to time. And Minority Report is a perfect example. Yes, it features the action-heavy plot and flashy special effects of your typical summer blockbuster. But the technical wizardry works beautifully to bring us into this world of the future; combined with the exquisite art direction, we appreciate all the cool details without consciously thinking about the computers behind the magic. This, of course, is exactly how hi-tech movie making should be; we're allowed to focus on the stuff that really makes the story so intriguing. Based on a short work by Philip K. Dick (from whose mind Blade Runner also spawned), Minority Report offers a thought-provoking premise with intriguing philosophical implications, and a clever plotline that keeps you guessing about what's going to happen next. It also delivers a complex, fully three-dimensional protagonist in John Anderton -- in a nice performance of Cruise, who avoids making Anderton too action heroey righteous and instead imbues him with darkness and depth, even as we can't help but root for him. Intelligent, emotionally satisfying, and eminently easy to watch, Minority Report is big-budget Hollywood sci-fi at its best. —reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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