Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Minority Report


First published in 1955, Philip K Dick ’s 38-page story  ‘The Minority Report ’ has, as its leading character, the fiftyish pipesmoker John Anderton – a man who, were told in the first line, fears he’s getting bald, old and fat. So its something of a surprise to see the decidedly un-bald, relatively youthful, decidedly slimline Tom Cruise cast as Anderton in Steven Spielbergs film version, Minority Report. Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised, given the way the Woody Allenish main character from Dicks We Can Remember It For You Wholesale suddenly became Arnold Schwarzenegger when the story was filmed as Total Recall in 1990.

The Minority Report isn’t among the strongest, nor the most obviously cinematic, of Dicks early stories. The Variable Man, with which its often anthologised, would seem to have much more potential. So its likely that Scott (Out of Sight) Frank ’s adaptation, while slightly abbreviating the story ’s title, will massively expand its themes to fill a slightly daunting 148-minute running time daunting, as its very difficult to make this kind of propulsive sci-fi stretch much beyond 90 minutes.

And its worth remembering that Spielbergs bloated, uneven A I was itself based on a short story barely three pages long. Early glimpses of Minority Report suggest Spielberg has once again deployed that movies cool, neon-lit futurism, blending it with the paranoiac race-against-unknown-enemy aspects of Cruises last vehicle, Vanilla Sky.

But the casting offers more hope: Colin Farrell, though direly in need of a hit, remains one of the more promising young actors in Hollywood, and Max Von Sydow lends class to even the shoddiest production. Samantha Morton, meanwhile, is an intriguingly unorthodox choice as leading lady lets just hope she has rather more to do than Frances OConnor in AI and Cameron Diaz in Vanilla Sky.

12th June, 2002

a full (post cog) review of MINORITY REPORT can be viewed here

by Neil Young