Tom Cruise takes center stage in the next Sci-Fi Chronicles film as I continue reviewing Spielberg science fiction titles that I haven’t covered for the blog yet.
Based loosely on the short story by Philip K. Dick, the film follows John Anderton (Cruise) the chief of the Pre-Crime Unit in the year 2054. Using three Pre-Cogs (people who can follow the future time lines before the happen) Anderton and his team can stop crime before it happens.
Things go sideways when Anderton finds himself on the run for a murder he doesn’t believe he could commit in the next 36 hours.
Anderton is haunted by the loss of his son, and believes in what he is doing, until he finds himself on the wrong side of it, pursued by Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) the new de facto leader of the Pre-Crime unit, which also includes Neal McDonough, with all of it overseen by Director Lamar Burgess (Max Von Sydow).
Intent on changing his described fate, Anderton kidnaps one of the Pre-Cogs, Agatha (Samantha Morton), and tries to find his way out of the conspiracy he finds himself in. He tries to hunt down answers, and prove himself not a murderer. But if the Pre-Cogs have seen it, then it has to happen.
Is Anderton a murderer?
Spielberg crafts a tightly paced film, action-packed, which plays with paradox, fate, and has some fantastic production design. And while we don’t have all the things that Spielberg and his designers created in the film, they also don’t seem that far off.
John Williams provides a moody, but driving score, as Anderton and Witwer go head to head, in the near future, and Spielberg demonstrates that he knows, very well, how to craft suspenseful, action-filled sequences.
The film, itself, has a washed out look to the colors, making it look dreary, used up, and consequently, lacking hope, even when there are amazing things to be seen. And, being a Spielberg science fiction film, there are any number of amazing things to see, the personalized advertisements that read your identity from your retina, the mag-lev cars, sick sticks, and very cool little gadgets and designs. Can any of them be that far off?
I’ve always been a sucker for a Spielberg film no matter the genre or the content, but I always enjoy when he plays in the science fiction realm, and I loved sitting down and watching this one again.
I also, really dig on the whole idea of the Pre-Cogs and then changing the future, and the ethical questions all of it brings up. It does bother me that he now uses Cruises as his Everyman, but I guess it helps with the box office draw.
That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a solid film, one that Spielberg moves along at a breakneck pace, right until the final moments. He keeps the action beats, the revelations, and the tensions going, as he takes us to a future that is becoming less and less improbable every day.