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Minority Report

"Is this now?"

Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise first collaborated back in 2002 on the visionary, eye popping thriller MINORITY REPORT.

More than two decades later, it still holds up as one of their best. Adapted from a short story by Phillip K. Dick, the author of "Blade Runner", the film takes place in 2054 in Washington D.C., where crime has been nearly eliminated. Three gifted pre-cognitive humans, floating in a tank all "Altered States" style, see the future. Their visions are translated onto small spheres that come rolling down glass chutes like lottery balls. The first ball names the victim, the second the murderer.

John Anderton (Cruise) leads the pre-crime division, flying into action alongside his team to stop murders as soon as the visions are shared.

Of course, since they stop the crime before it is committed, is the person arrested truly a felon? It's an interesting labyrinth of a question, but you won't have time to consider it too deeply thanks to the incredible special effects and sound design and Spielberg at his finest, pulling you high speed through mystery on top of mystery.

The great Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist, Hawaii, Flash Gordon) is Anderton's boss, Director Lamar Burgess. He asks John to keep a very close eye on government man Danny Witwer, played flawlessly by Colin Farrell in one of his earliest big screen roles. Farrell is fantastic.

Just when Anderton seems close to cracking an important case that challenges the entire Pre-Crime unit's existence, his name comes up, with the Pre-Cogs seeing him murdering a man in 48 hours. A man he doesn't know!

This starts a Spielberg man on the run flick that's wholly inspired by Hitchcock's "North by Northwest", but plunked down into a near future that already looks pretty damn close twenty years after the film's release.

In 2002, that Lexus dropped jaws and seemed 100 years away. If you saw it on the street today, you'd barely notice. Facial recognition was a novelty in 2002, now it's ho hum.

Cruise is excellent in the Cary Grant man on the run role, as are Samantha Morton (In America) as pre-cog Amanda, TV regular Neal McDonough as John's right hand man Fletcher and Lois Smith (Twister, Lady Bird) as a woman with a lethal greenhouse. That kiss she gives Cruise in their scene together wasn't scripted and the look of shock on Cruise's face is real! LOL

Spielberg is legendary for his action scenes and boy does he deliver here. John's escape on and over his car on a futuristic driverless freeway is fantastic. The scene with metal spiders crawling all over a massive, decrepit apartment building in search of Anderton is brilliantly shot, as those spiders crawl up everyone in the building to scan their eyeballs.

A chase through a fully robotic Lexus car manufacturing plant is a blast, as are those spin handle soundwave guns that everyone wields like futuristic cowboys spinning their guns out of their holsters.

Spielberg worked with 15 futurist scientists and professors three years before filming to gather what they thought 2054 would look like. Mission accomplished Mr. Spielberg.

Director of Photography Janusz Kaminski (West Side Story, Schindler's List, Lincoln) bleached the film negative to give the entire movie a unique, silver and blue tinted vision.

John Williams delivers a killer music score, the entire orchestra ripping you across the action and then wrapping you in disorienting sound anytime the pre-Cogs visions appear on screen. Two tracks from the soundtrack "Anderton's Great Escape" and "Everybody Runs" are all-time soundtrack favorites.

The finale is one of Spielberg's best and the entire film is packed with creatively staged scenes and angles that often reminded me of Hitchcock shots anytime Anderton is on-the-run.

Spielberg and Cruise both waved their normal salaries to keep the budget down, settling for 15% of the gross instead. A great bet on themselves as the film came out early summer 2002 and grossed almost four times its $100 million budget.

Turn up your speakers, turn down the lights and fire up MINORITY REPORT, it gets an A.

Remember, everybody runs!

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