Friday, June 22, 2012

Minority Report at 10

Some of cinema's most awesome sights are those that envision our future. Movies have routinely taken a look at where we'll be decades, sometimes centuries, from now. And while these visions have captured our imaginations (from Metropolis's towering skyscrapers and lumbering archways suspended thousands of feet over ground to Blade Runner's perpetual rainfall over neon-lit urban decay), their accuracy has been sketchy. To be fair, not all of these movies necessarily tried to foster authentic versions of the future. Nevertheless, the near-deficiency of believable futuristic settings in the cinema speaks to the slippery slope of anticipating cultural, technological, and architectural components that are in constant flux. It's with some bit of irony, then, that a movie about visualizing the future has produced a vision of society decades from now that continues to gain legitimacy, even as the work itself slips further into the past. 
This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the release of Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. And though it grossed only $132 million in 2002 (a low number considering the actor-director pedigree of Spielberg and pre-meltdown Tom Cruise), it's left a legacy few contemporary blockbusters can touch. No doubt, the film's increasingly relevant depiction of mid-21st-century society plays a significant role in its growing presence in the cultural movie lexicon. But the film is more so a staggering achievement for precisely how it places the future it conjures in motion with storytelling's past. Minority Report straddles the divide of classicism and futurism, serving up a decidedly old-fashioned noir detective story in a modern sheer. And the combination proves virtuoso, as the film is every bit as much about a future world in decay as it is our own world now; except, unlike other films that exaggerate their vision of the future and rely more stringently on allegory, Minority Report brandishes in its own kind of surrealistic realism and offers a layered narrative surface, to boot.

Click here to read the full article at Slant Magazine's blog The House Next Door.

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