Minority Report Research Papers
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There is a great deal of political content, both overt and implied, in the film, Minority Report. If a social historian working two hundred years from now wanted to study early twenty-first century popular attitudes about the nature of our political system, he/she would glean much from a viewing of this film.
One of the attitudes found in this movie—and in many, many movies of this type—is that elites are not trustworthy.
- The villain of the piece is a member of the Washington establishment.
- The villain is willing to commit multiple murders.
- There is an endless list of mass-market films that depict our political movers and shakers as being wholly cynical and self-interested.
The pervasiveness of these themes, there apparent popularity, reflects a healthy skepticism on the part of the citizenry. It would be very hard to establish a regime based on a fuehrerprinzip here.
Interestingly, the depiction of the villain is mixed. This man has some very good qualities and he, by killing himself and not the hero at the end of the film, achieves a partial redemption. I am not entirely sure that Spielberg means the viewer to draw the conclusion I am about to suggest, but I think it does have a certain measure of plausibility. That is that we should view the villain as having been more decent in the past, but one upon whom the corruptions of power have taken their toll.
There is also a bit of political content that is important but not intentional. For the film’s central idea—that fifty years or so from now the law will be imprisoning people because of something that they would have done if the police had not stopped them—is wholly preposterous under our legal system. Here there is something curious. The point is made that there is a crime of “future murder”. Would-be murderers are booked for that offense, not for “attempted murder.” No one with even the most rudimentary knowledge of how the American legal system works, and how the Constitution is construed by the courts, could be unaware that the courts would not permit the punishing of people for things that do not actually happen. The movie is therefore relying somewhat on the fact that most of its audience has no idea how our system works. And that is a fact from which the historian of the future would learn this: that the people living in America in the year 2002 are not very well informed about the laws under which they live.