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Friday, April 22, 2011


Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story may take place in 2056, but it already feels dated. A fable about fate & freewill, it imagines a crime-free city that arrests perpetrators before the fact, thanks to a trio of floating soothsayers. Tom Cruise is chief dick on the program, a divorced dad who lost his son years back, now hoist on his own petard when the seers point his way. That’s when the film tips from ‘manhunt’ to ‘man-hunted,’ a high-tech Innocent-Man-On-The-Run much like Harrison Ford in THE FUGITIVE/’93. [SPOILER!!: You’ll recognize Colin Farrell & Max Von Sydow in roles played by Tommy Lee Jones & Jeroen Krabbé in the Ford pic.] Spielberg is so relieved to get the heck out of that crime lab, a blue-toned cocoon of I-PAD projectiles you play with your hands like a Theremin, he celebrates with some goofy gags. There's a yucky pair of detached, roll-away eyeballs, and he even pulls off his own variation on a conveyor-belt set piece Alfred Hitchcock spoke of but never found a spot for. But all too soon we return to unearned solemnity and those suffering saint-like seers. Very Stanley Kubrick meets Ron Howard.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Cruise literally has to drag one of those seers along for the rest of the pic. No doubt, just how Spielberg felt about having to finish this one.

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