Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2002. Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks, Cruise/Wagner Productions, Blue Tulip Productions, Ronald Shusett/Gary Goldman, Digital Image Associates. Screenplay by Scott Frank, Jon Cohen, based on the short story by Philip K. Dick. Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski. Produced by Bonnie Curtis, Jan de Bont, Gerald R. Molen, Walter F. Parkes. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Alex McDowell. Costume Design by Deborah Lynn Scott. Film Editing by Michael Kahn. Academy Awards 2002.
In a not-too-distant future, three humans are, as the result of genetic tampering, imbued with the ability to predict murders through their linked psychic dreams. A special task force of “pre-crime” cops download the information that these “pre-cogs” dream and use them to apprehend criminals, sometimes minutes before they are about to commit their heinous crimes. Tom Cruise plays a top cop in the pre-crime division, someone whose personal loss of his little boy contributes to his dedication to this new form of criminal law, but when he’s fingered by the psychics as a future murderer he starts to suspect that maybe the system isn’t perfect after all. Enter a dedicated FBI agent (Colin Farrell) who has come to supervise this still brand-new police operation and keep an eye on Cruise. This amazing science-fiction film is adapted from a story by Philip K. Dick and is excellently performed by a fantastic cast. Samantha Morton is astounding as the only female pre-cog, and she goes the extra mile in intensity and believability in every scene she’s in; Farrell is quietly brilliant in his own way, a tough feat considering that actors don’t generally survive being villains in movies with Tom Cruise (see Scott, Dougray). Even Cruise himself is appropriately dark and charismatic; thanks to excellent direction by Steven Spielberg, his Coolest Guy In The Universe personality is kept at a minimum and we are actually allowed to witness him in a more vulnerable superhero position. There’s also a brilliant supporting turn by Lois Smith that threatens to steal the whole film. The darker elements of the story are never really allowed to flourish enough in the film noir way that this story deserves (see Blade Runner, also adapted from a Dick story, for a better example of this), but then as an action film it’s not all that tense and exciting either. It’s a little bit of both, and because of its lack of genre dedication the film might leave you with mixed feelings. The philosophies it deals with, however, will give you lots to think about all the way home, and the eyepopping visual effects (Spielberg always manages to outdo himself) and fascinating futuristic technology will keep your senses sated for a long time.