Steven Spielberg films a chilling vision of a totalitarian future



Agent John Anderton (Tom Cruise) and Agatha (Samantha Morton) in


The year is 2054. Under an experimental program confined to the Washington district alone, the Department of Justice can arrest criminals before they act. Twins and a young girl, Agatha, baptized “precogs” because of their mediumistic powers, are force-fed synthetic drugs and isolated in a swimming pool under the gaze of the “pre-crime” brigade, which watches for their predictions.

The policeman John Anderton ( Tom Cruise) watches and interprets on a telepathic screen the film of future crimes, as a zealous servant of a power that has achieved zero impunity. Without suspecting that he will see himself later on this same screen, in the act of homicide.

At this point in the film, a revelation emerges that does not have the explanatory value that is commonly attached to it. Agatha, the most gifted of the trio of ‘precogs’, is expected to reveal to John Anderton why a plot has been woven around him. However, Agatha begins to have failures in her visions. She no longer describes a certain future, but a parallel future, and tells John Anderton the possible future of Sean, his son, if he had not disappeared six years earlier.

Bewitching Tom Cruise

We then have the feeling that the film begins again identically. With the difference that the link that unites the two characters – John Anderton needs Agatha to explain why she guessed a criminal in him – has now become intimate. This way of getting to know each other again is worrying, alongside the pleasure provided by the mastery of Steven Spielberg and the spellbinding interpretation of Samantha Morton and Tom Cruise. One might think that his film is a family secret that he agrees to reveal. It is quite simply the moving story of two individuals who cannot manage to bury their dead.

A “minority report” concerns one who could have had a parallel future by not committing the crime of which he is virtually accused. This concept of uchronia is central to the new Minority report, by Philip K. Dick, published in 1956 and adapted by Spielberg. The American director gives this “minority relationship” an additional meaning, also designating the one who has not fulfilled his destiny, like the missing son of John Anderton.

Minority Report constitutes the most plastically successful vision of the cinema of our future since Metropolisby Fritz Lang, and blade runner, by Ridley Scott. In this future where the unconscious has been colonized, our desires are now subject to consumerist satisfaction alone. “The Dead Don’t Die”explains Agatha to John Anderton…

There is something even crazier in Spielberg’s project: he aims to anchor his characters in the genealogy of their dead, as if only the memory of a constantly maintained past offered an alternative to a disembodied future.

Minority Report, by Steven Spielberg. With Tom Cruise and Samantha Morton (EU, 2002, 145 min). Cine+ Premier


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