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There hasn't been a murder in six years. The system, it is perfect.


Minority Report
(2002)

Revisiting Spielberg's best film since Raiders. Hard to believe he'd lose his mojo so much in a mere 5 years that Crystal Skull would look like the director couldn't even be arsed to show up on set. The goofy humour is the clearest link to the Jones films, although with a blacker edge than they ever went for (there is much here that would have fitted with the Total Recall sequel this was originally intended as, right down to fake adverts. Verhoeven would certainly have had fun with it, although I expect he would have nixed the diarrheic product placement).

The spiders sequence is probably the most virtuoso, summoning the spirit of De Palma for the overhead shots following the metallic creatures' identification of residents. There are occasional missteps; the "big" effects (the freeways, the stasis room) only ever feel like effects because they're too elaborate (and no amount of fake camera flaring will change that, although JJ Abrams clearly thought it was a great idea) and at times the exposition is a little on the clunky side (Colin Farrell has the most unforgiving role in this regard, but he manages to do something solid with it). 

The supporting cast are particularly good. Samantha Morton is just astounding (watch her in the climactic confrontation scene between Cruise and the man he's hunting down) and there are oddball turns to be savoured from Peter Stormare and Tim Blake Nelson. Lois Smith does wonders with the exposition scene she's given with Cruise while Max Von Sydow is dependably still alive.

(SPOILERS) In respect of the much-berated final 20 minutes, I was more convinced than ever that it is all in Cruise's head, with him now incarcerated and in stasis. Events slot into place and loose ends are wrapped up so neatly after Nelson tells him that in suspension all his dreams will come true that it demands a layered reading. Against this is that Cruise apparently never gets his son back (at least we don't see him, but perhaps that would be a signposting too far); but he is back with his (now pregnant) wife. When I first saw this in the cinema, it was my preferred take even though it seemed like the ending was saccharine of the type one would expect from Spielberg. The "all in Cruise's mind" ending seems supported by the Wiki article on the film, which notes that Spielberg removed lines from the epilogue about murder having returned to Washington with Precrime dismantled for the DVD release; thus he excised the only negative in Cruise's dreams coming true. Certainly, Spielberg would have been conscious that he was visually referencing Brazil in Agatha's escape to a country retreat.

****1/2

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