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Gattaca

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Minority Report is Steven Spielberg№s second cinematic journey and investigation into interior darkness and (after his portrayal of the dark psyche in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence) into the future of humankind. It comes in the form of the atmospheric neo-noir/sci-fi/futuristic thriller which stars an intense Tom Cruise....

Myth, Shadow Politics, and Perennial Philosophy in Minority Report

(Writers: Jon Cohen and Frank Scott; Director: Steven Spielberg. 20th Century Fox and Dream Works Pictures, 2002)

A Film Analysis by Cathleen Rountree, Ph.D.c

While watching the drama,

the spectators become identified with

the mythical happening being portrayed, which allow[s] them to

participate briefly in the archetypal level of reality.

-- The Eternal Drama, Edward F. Edinger

The shadow personifies everything that

the subject refuses to acknowledge

about himself . . . --for instance, inferior

traits of character and other incompatible tendencies.

-- The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, C.G. Jung

The illegal we can do now; the

unconstitutional will take a little

longer.

-- Henry Kissinger, as quoted in The Trial of Henry Kissinger,

Christopher Hitchens

Minority Report is Steven Spielberg№s second cinematic journey and investigation into interior darkness and (after his portrayal of the dark psyche in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence) into the future of humankind. It comes in the form of the atmospheric neo-noir/sci-fi/futuristic thriller which stars an intense Tom Cruise (who--at last--foregoes his boyish charm and artificial smile). This is the third Cruise film, in as many years, to deal with eyes and seeing and vision. First there was Stanley Kubrick№s Eyes Wide Shut, in which Cruise could not see beyond his privileged upper-middle-class existence; then there was Cameron Crowe№s Vanilla Sky in which Cruise№s character, David Ames, could not distinguish between realities of the present, past and future, and the virtual. The metaphor of the necessity for inner sight is again present in Minority Report. Indeed, the film is obsessed with eyes and seeing. Cruise portrays a Pre-Crime fighter who is so blinded by his righteous, one-sided perspective that he eventually has his own pair of eyes exchanged on the blackmarket for a different pair, which has the unanticipated affect of enabling him to іseeІ more clearly.

For a mythologist, the plucking out of one№s own eyes by a movie character leads inexorably to a reference of the Oedipus archetype. Jung wrote that Freud іdiscovered the first archetype, the Oedipus complex.І The Oedipus complex, he says, іis a mythological and a psychological motif simultaneously.І And Minority Report is as rife with mythology and psychology, as it is with philosophy, politics, archetypes, and cinematic citations; all of which I will address herein.

Synopsis

But, first, a brief synopsis of the story-line in Minority Report. (Note: this analysis assumes that the reader has already viewed the film and, thus, reveals the plot and resolutions.)

In the cold, glossy national capitol of Washington, D.C., circa 2054, the Justice Department has found a seemingly perfect means to prevent homicide in the D.C. area: a prophylactic pre-detection of criminals. The system uses three mutant psychics (or scientifically engineered prophets)--known as Pre-Cogs--connected to a computer, by which the agents of the Pre-Crime unit can see murders before they take place and arrest the would-be perpetrators. The Pre-Cogs--a holy trinity of precognition--float in a sort of sacred amniotic fluid of vitamins and life-sustaining nutrients that also controls their levels of seretonin--a liquid Prozac, as it were. Considered a 21st-century-style Oracle at Delphi, they are Agatha (Christie?), Dashiell (Hammett?), and Arthur (C. Clark?). Chief John Anderton (Cruise) supervises the unit and reports to its director (and his mentor/father-figure) Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow). Agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) is sent in by the FBI, which is considering nationalizing the system, to observe the process in action and to detect any flaws (іThey№re always human,І

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