In the Dark

Fateful Choices

Minority Report
Produced by 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks and Cruise-Wagner Productions
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Scott Frank from a short story by Philip K. Dick
Distributed by DreamWorks

Men in Black II
Produced by Amblin Entertainment and Columbia Pictures
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Screenplay by Robert Gordon VII from Lowell Cunningham’s comic-book series
Distributed by Columbia Pictures

Despite taking its inspiration from a feeble Philip K. Dick story, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report is an extraordinarily entertaining film and, occasionally, a provocative meditation on fate and choice.  As such, it improves upon its source immeasurably.

Dick wanted his 1954 story to be an Orwellian satire on America.  Its premise, however, is so ungainly that it all but sinks the narrative.  In 2054, American criminal justice has taken the next logical step.  Cops no longer have to wait for criminals to strike.  They can arrest them before they rob, shoot, or poleax their fellow creatures.  How has this anticipatory police intervention been made possible?  The Department of Pre-Crime keeps three idiot clairvoyants permanently installed on its premises.  In one of Dick’s few felicitous turns, these brain-damaged unfortunates have been dubbed...

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