When I watched Minority Report for the first time back in 2002, I absolutely loved it. It was a fast-paced, gritty, dystopian vision where freedom of choice is usurped by pre-cognitive children of drug addicts and future cops who use those visions as damning evidence.
But as I’ve continued my sci-fi education—specifically reading the work of Philip K. Dick—the film began to feel weird. When watching movies like Total Recall (with Arnold), Adjustment Bureau, A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, really any PKD adaptations, a unifying theme emerges. Things are never what they seem. Minority Report, however, feels like it’s just another linear action flick, complete with a fairy tale ending. What if that’s not the case at all?
The scene where Anderton is placed into his dream prison, the guard goes, “They say your life flashes before your eyes, that all your dreams come true.” Huh. Weird since THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS. He escapes, beats the bad guy, gets the girl, and is also having another child. It’s all a dream from the time Anderton goes under, until the film’s happy ending. When I saw other people had similar ideas about Minority Report after a quick Google inquiry, I knew I was on to something.
I’m not saying this theory is bulletproof. It honestly feels like a stretch when you consider Spielberg as a filmmaker. But what’s great is you can watch Minority Report either way and the movie is still sickeningly entertaining—whether a triumph of human will or proving that choice is just an illusion.