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Minority Report

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We watched the DVD of Minority Report last night and I was shocked how good it is. The film works as an Fugitive-type crime thriller, a psychological study of loss and grief, as a clever and convincing sci-fi gee-whiz spectacle, and most importantly as as provocative cautionary tale regarding factors in play right now: genetic manipulation, total governmental awareness, the needs of the many vs. the rights of the few, and the morality of foreknowledge.

From all I have heard, Tom Cruise is a monomaniacal, utterly self-absorbed, cold, manipulative asshole. This predisposes me against him; however, with some exceptions, I find I consistently become quickly absorbed into his roles, forget who he is, and enjoy another compelling performance. That is certainly the case here as Cruise stars as the chief of a police unit dedicated to stopping murders before they happen, driven on by the disappearance and presumed death of his young son six years previous.

Set 50 years in the future and based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, technology rules most aspects of life: all citizens are identified by eye-scan, all marketing is deeply personal, and public safety has trumped personal privacy.

The “precrime” experiment in Washington DC turns on the precognitions of three special people – “better not thought of as human” – who foresee all regional murders before they occur, giving the precrime unit visual clues to the coming crime which they must decipher in order to prevent the crime. In order to facilitate their visions, the “precogs” are kept drugged, wired and floating in a pool in what amounts to sensory deprivation. Their lives are – shall we say – not their own.

In what becomes an intricate plot, Cruise is accused of a premurder and must avoid capture, clear himself, and unravel the truth before the preordained moment arrives. Cruise, Max von Sydow and Colin Farrell (The Recruit) are all excellent, and Stephen Spielberg’s direction is intricate without being busy, and taut throughout. There is a fairly large plot hole exposed at the end, but we were riveted for over two hours.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    I’ve avoided this movie because of two things: almost all movie adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s work suck (except for “Blade Runner”, which is the exception which proves the rule, it has almost nothing to do with the original novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”), and I am allergic to Tom Cruise (except in “Magnolia” again e.p.t.r.).

    Also I prefer the works of Senor Spielburgo, not that other fellow.

    After all, if Iain Banks can make sense of “Total Recall”, then I can try with this on DVD.

  • http://www.tomcruiselover.com Stephanie

    I loved the movie Minority Report. But then again I also love Tom Cruise. I feel he does a very good job of acting his part, despite what has happened to him in the past. He has got alot to go through, including his dyslexia. I think he did a very nice job in this movie, and i liked all of him other movies too. And besides, no one is forcing anybody to go see one of him movies. So if you dont like him or dont want to see it, fine, who cares?

  • rox

    Eric, you said:

    “From all I have heard, Tom Cruise is a monomaniacal, utterly self-absorbed, cold, manipulative asshole. ”

    Either you live under a rock or don’t read the news. How can you say that? I have met him and he’s the nicest guy alive. I mean, he started a conversation with almost everyone in the bleachers. And are you aware of what he has done of NZ? Are you aware what he has done for homeless children in india? Are you aware for what he has done for 10 000 illiterate children. Are you aware of the praises he got from anyone who has ever come in contact with him?

    Probably not. You sir, are a jerk. To call a man who has done so much for the world an ass whole….makes me want to slap you.

    The truth won’t be told. No matter how nice and beautiful and great Tom Cruise is, the truth won’t get out. Blind and stupid people like you will believe the tabloids.

    I’d like to hear your reply, Eric.

    BTW, I loved Minority Report, and Cruise as usual is amazing.

  • The Theory

    …I saw Minority Report for the 3rd time last week and continue to enjoy it. It is a good movie.

    peace.

  • Eric Olsen

    Rox, I haven’t met him so have no personal stake in the matter. I am glad to hear another side and am happy you had such a good experience with him. I do not think, however, this negates the endless reports from everyone from junior high on who say mostly the same things about him. This is secondhand information, absolutely, but it is also remarkably consistent.

    The fact that he does charitable things with his multi-millions is admirable, but doesn’t really have any bearing on his personality.

    I like him as an actor for the most part, said so in the review, liked “Minority Report” very much, said so.

    I am sorry if you were offended by my personal assessment, but it still seems fairly accurate to me. If I am wrong, it won’t be the first time.

  • rox

    Well thank you for your mature reply, Eric.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Well, Cruise IS stupid enough to be a Scientologist. That’s definitely one strike against him.

  • rox

    I don’t judge people according to their religion. And it always is this way, the negative things you do, always outbalance the good things you do. Sad isn’t it?

    I wish to hell Cruise was a jerk and an ass as you all make him to be.

  • http://gratefuldread.net/fando/ Natalie

    Glad you said that (the first sentence). When I first saw Al’s comment, I refrained from commenting because my words would have been really angry. But imagine that comment with “Catholic” or “Jew.” Scientologists shouldn’t be maligned for belonging to a particular religion, whether we agree with the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard or not.

    John Travolta is a Scientologist and he’s been praised as a top-notch pilot. You can’t be stupid and a good pilot.

    As for Tom Cruise (and I am not a big Cruise fan), he has worked hard to overcome dyslexia. He spent years faking an ability to read. You can’t be stupid and pull off either of those things.

    BTW, I’ve heard that Cruise is a really nice guy and a jerk. Perhaps he, like the rest of us, has his good days and bad days.