As I sit at home flipping through the channels, I find myself landing on HBO where Minority Report is playing for what must be the third time today. And yet I can’t turn away. The film’s just so damn gripping. It’s a technical marvel, the CGI is nine years old and yet still looks just as good as films being produced today, and it still uses numerous practical effects that are thrilling to watch. I mean just look at that spiderbot sequence:
The cinematography by Jamusz Kaminski is beautiful, slightly overexposed and desaturated, creating this strangely sterile yet dystopic future, and the performances are uniformly strong with numerous fun supporting roles from the likes of people like Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Stormare, and Jessica Harper. Hell, it was made at a time when it was still socially acceptable to like Tom Cruise (pre-couch). The best thing is that it’s ending is up to the viewer. Those looking for a nice upbeat victory of a finale can take the last 15 minutes to be as they appear, but for us cynics, we can imagine that everything following John Anderton’s incarceration is a dream. Remember, right as he’s being put away, Tim Blake Nelson’s character says, “It’s actually kind of a rush. They say that you have visions. That your life flashes before your eyes. That all your dreams come true.” Ahhh. Did I just blow someone’s mind? Anyone? …No? Well I guess it has been out for nine years. Well no need to make me feel dumb about it, I was just bringing it to people’s attention! Now that’s just Anti-Semitic… ANYWAY, the one thing that always causes me to pause is the one gapping plot hole that I can’t escape whenever I watch the film. It’d be damn near perfect if not for the fact that, the overall conspiracy against John Anderson makes no sense! I know it feels pointless to pick apart the loopholes of a sci-fi film, but I can never escape this film’s crippling break in logic and now, most likely, you won’t be able to either.
There are two elements that are intended to drive John Anderton to murder Leo Crow. The first is when John initially sees the precogs prediction of the murder. This is what sets the plot in motion and makes John aware of Leo Crow because beforehand, he doesn’t know Crow exists. The second is seeing the “orgy of evidence” in Crows room when Anderton finally confronts him. The knowledge that Crow supposedly was the man who kidnapped and killed John’s son is what’s supposed to drive him to commit the murder. However, as anyone who’s seen the movie before knows, Anderton was set up to kill Crow by Lamar Burgess, who offered to take care of Crow’s family if he let Anderton kill him. They planted the photos of John’s son with Crow so John would murder him out of passion. BUT WAIT! How does simply planting the evidence there ensure that the murder will take place? John didn’t know about Crow until he saw the precog’s vision of him killing Crow. That’s what sends him looking for the man in the first place, what leads him to find Crow and the evidence. That vision could only exist if John was going to commit the murder regardless, which we know he wouldn’t because he had no reason to find the man without the vision setting things into motion. He does not have any knowledge of Crow prior to this. In order for Lamar’s framing to work, in order for the events of the film to occur, Lamar would need to plant that vision to set John after Crow, which is impossible, and besides we know that the precogs did see it, because it’s downloaded directly from Agatha’s brain at the seedy cyber club.
Sorry. Anyone who was going through a pleasant life of championing this film as flawless, I apologize. I wish I could live that life. Sincerely I do. Other than the plot hole that makes the entire film not make sense, I find very little wrong with the movie. That’s not even snark! Luckily, we can still enjoy the film as a fun sci-fi blockbuster. It’s still one of the best things Spielberg’s done in 20 years (in my humble opinion of course) and just some of the most fun I’ve seen from him visually in his entire career. Every shot is instilled with classic elements of film-noir that any casual movie fan can geek out to. The film holds up. It’s a great watch. It’ll be a great watch. But it doesn’t make sense. It can never honestly be considered perfect. And that’s always hard to realize.
– Matt Stryker