Posted on Friday, September 18th, 2015 by Fred Topel
The movie Minority Report left me with a lot of questions. Or actually, it left me with frustrating answers to their questions. The movie asks: If you can catch someone before they commit a crime, should you still imprison them? It’s supposed to be a moral conundrum, but the way the movie frames it, it’s simple. No, you never have to imprison anyone, because Precrime is 100% effective. The movie states that most criminals don’t even bother anymore because they know they’ll get caught. The only crimes predicted are crimes of passion, and once you stop those, they’re not going to try again. So with John Anderton (Tom Cruise) on the case, it’s the prison system that was unnecessary. He’ll always prevent every crime, even if the same person comes up 100 times.
Fox’s Minority Report TV series shows that there were complications the film didn’t explore. Now that the precogs are free, Dash (Stark Sands) is trying to save people from his psychic visions of their death, but he never gets there in time. So Precrime was only 100% effective under Anderton. Other people aren’t as reliable. It also suggests that telling someone you’re going to catch them won’t necessarily stop them from perpetrating a crime. I got deep into this with series writer Max Borenstein, with producer Kevin Falls sitting in, after the Minority Report panel for the Television Critics Association. Read More »