Pre-Cognitive Dissonance

In Minority Report, the eyes have it

With Minority Report, Spielberg means to enjoy himself while doing justice to Dick's paranoid vision of big government overstepping itself. But being the bright-eyed boy he is, Spielberg can never travel all the way with Dick, an incorrigible pessimist who gave his readers no quarter. Dick pursued the black heart of the corporate state to its unlovely conclusion—in the short story, when things go awry, it's through an unintended consequence of the system, and we're forced to consider the most un-American proposition that the individual may have to sacrifice himself for the system to survive. The old-fashioned humanist in Spielberg will go along with this just so far before he starts restoring both the individual and the system to their better selves. Minority Report is, finally, a celebration of the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. About the fate of the first two Dick had his own morbid ideas: he saw little in life to celebrate and few possibilities for liberty. As to the third, for the often-divorced, frequently ill, periodically doped and perennially anxious Dick, happiness was always a foreign country—which is why his story ends with a dry, cynical chuckle. Spielberg must redeem his heroes—which is why his movie ends with family ties.

Minority Report was directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Scott Frank and Jon Cohen, based on the short story by Philip K. Dick; produced by Gerald R. Molen, Bonnie Curtis, Walter F. Parkes and Jan de Bont; and stars Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow and Colin Farrell. Now playing countywide.

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