Thank Kubrick: it was while Steven Spielberg was editing A.I. that he decided to make “my grittiest entertainment movie ever”.
No one could have guessed that his obsession with movie wonder, lost children and broken families could slot so thrillingly into Philip K Dick’s dystopian shocker, where psychic ‘precogs’ solve murders before they happen.
As the tortured Precrime cop framed for murder, Tom Cruise never stops moving – and neither does Minority Report. Haunting, shivery and arrestingly bleak, this kinetic neo-noir thriller surges and twists through thrilling action sequences (an escape in a car factory was lifted from a Hitchcock idea that never happened), black humour (Cruise chasing his own extracted eyeballs as they roll towards a sewer grate) and cine-smart references (Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, The Passion Of Joan Of Arc and onwards).
Paranoia, grief, addiction, repressed violence… Cruise provides a concussive emotional focus. But for once, he’s surrounded by actors that challenge him for the centre of the screen. Colin Farrell’s pinstripe-suited FBI agent, Max von Sydow’s patriarch and Samantha Morton’s shaven-headed soothsayer are all just as magnetic.
The ’Berg is on his game, too. The eyes are literally the mirror of the soul in his vision of 2054, a startlingly plausible world of glitchy, consumerist technology that feels ever more like the day after tomorrow (digi-papers are basically iPads).
Better at the visceral than the philosophical, Spielberg can’t quite bottle the cerebral sparks created by the clashing big ideas (futurism vs freedom, fate vs free will). But Minority Report’s colour-bled techno city looks sensational in HD, despite DoP Janusz Kaminski regularly throwing on grainy filters that mimic the precogs’ memories of murder and Cruise’s character’s own battered mental state.
Not only does this Blu-ray look incredible, it’s armed with fresh, quality extras. Backboning the lot is a hefty interactive interview with Spielberg, while one of Dick’s daughters reveals childhood memories in a featurette about the author and the production designer takes us through Spielberg’s personal archive of the movie’s props. What’s more, all the featurettes from the two-disc DVD release are included, too.
There’s an amazing demo that shows how Cruise’s ‘orchestra of images’ gloves really do work. But best of all is the incredible on-set footage of Spielberg shooting the hoverpack sequence and the car factory punch-up. As Cruise squares off against one of his sickstick-wielding opponents, Spielberg’s direction to his actor says it all: “C’mon – right in his eye.”
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