Socialist Worker

A thriller for the majority

by Viren Swami
Issue No. 1808

THE NEW film Minority Report is a provocative thriller about the authorities overstepping their boundaries to prosecute people simply for thinking about a crime. It is based on a short story by science fiction writer Philip K Dick and directed by Steven Spielberg.

It presents a vivid yet troubling depiction of a futuristic society where lawlessness has become an obsession. Tom Cruise stars as John Anderton, a detective operating out of Washington DC in the year 2054.

Anderton is the chief of the so called Precrime Department. His information on future murders comes from a trio of psychics known as precognitives, or precogs. With the help of the precogs Anderson and his team are able to apprehend potential killers seconds before they commit their crime. The police have been able to eliminate almost all murders.

This ignores the dubious practice of incarcerating people who have merely thought about a crime without having actually committed it. The possibility of someone being unfairly targeted is ignored-that is, until the precogs accuse Anderton of pre-murder. And so ensues the classic Hollywood chase-the innocent man on the run from the law attempting to prove his innocence.

As he searches for answers, Anderton discovers something known as the minority report, the name given to those cases where there is some dissent among the three precogs. Anderton needs access to this information, and swirling around his quest is Spielberg's future.

Billboard advertisements make direct personal contact with customers, cereal boxes come with moving images, and people's eyes are constantly being scanned. Unfortunately the viewer is bombarded with a relentless roll call of multinationals-from Pepsi to Gap.

Once you get past this blemish, Minority Report is an unrelenting movie about the cruel uncertainty of both life and the future.

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Sat 13 Jul 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1808
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