In adapting one of Philip K. Dick's dystopian tales, Steven Spielberg has a tough act to follow after Blade Runner (1982) survived its box office death via E.T. (1982) to become one of the 1980s' most revered films. Rising to the challenge in eye candy and entertainment, if not philosophical depth, Minority Report (2002) finds Spielberg in top action form. With the desaturated photography lending a steely-gray cast to the deliriously high-tech activity, Spielberg neatly lays out the workings of the ominously potent Precrime outfit that sacrifices the freedom of the individual for the safety of all. The film really kicks into gear, however, once Tom Cruise's Precrime honcho John Anderton is fingered by the super-psychic Pre-Cogs and, true to Cruise form, runs. The pure cinematic pleasure in Cruise's adrenaline-rush escape from spirited G-man nemesis Colin Farrell through Washington D.C. is matched by his arrival at the lushly verdant mutant paradise cultivated by Precrime godmother Lois Smith; the rampant product placement throughout becomes a witty comment on the perils of bureaucratic omniscience. Spielberg sabotages the ending, however, by refusing to let the audience get a thought in edgewise. After over-explaining the paradoxes of Precrime, Spielberg and company negate the prior 90 minutes of sublimely bleak sci-fi noir by giving Cruise his obligatory star hero moment before ending on a vision of bucolic freedom strikingly at odds with the story's apparent implications. Sleekly crafted nevertheless, Minority Report is still an engaging walk on the safely Spielbergian dark side.
by Lucia Bozzola review