Does Minority Report have a trick ending?(spoiler of course)

OK this idea was brought up in another thread by zuma but I really wanted to canvas more opinions on this since it’s an important issue in evaluating the quality of the movie. I also heard a guest on NPR make the same suggestion a couple of days ago .

What is the trick ending?
After Anderton is put away the guard says something like “I heard you live your fantasy life in your mind” IMMEDIATELY afterwards the tone of the film changes completely and suddenly becomes this feel-good murder mystery where the wife manages to catch the villain, implausibly rescues her husband who then proceeds to stage a theatrical confrontation which ends with the villain killing himself and then everyone lives happily ever afterwards.

It doesn’t really fit with the rest of the move unless we are in fact seeing Anderton’s fantasy. Edelstein of Slate wrote that he couldn’t believe that the same writers who wrote the first two hours wrote the last twenty minutes. Isn’t it likely that the writers were in fact deliberately doing this?

One other semi-clue. I think I read that Spielberg was asked about the feel-good endings in his movies; he defended himself and said something like “I don’t think people will complain about this in Minority Report” But taken at face value, Minority Report has the ultimate feel-good ending and surely Spielberg would know this.

If the ending is in fact a trick then it changes my evaluation of the movie quite a bit. My first thought after watching it ,like many others,was “good movie,pity about the ending”. The trick ending OTOH would be a brilliantly satisfying way of ending the film and would IMO raise it to the level of a masterpiece.
Of course the filmmakers should have been a little less subtle about it since it flew over most of our heads (including mine).

That would make it remarkably similar in structure to *A.I.[/i, but I think you are right. One thing is when Burgess and Anderton are talking on their little phones at the end they have this slightly synthesized phone voice, which is appropriate. But then when they are close to each other and Anderton takes off his phone, they still have those voices, which makes it seem not real.

Sigh now you have spoiled AI for me.:wink: The same thing happened in the other thread where someone mentioned that the trick ending was similiar to movie XYZ. So please, everyone, no spoilers for other movies especially recent ones.

Good point about the voices, though I didn’t notice it myself. I did find it implausible that Anderton would make it all the way to a personal face-off with Burgess.

The more I think of it the more I am sure it is a trick ending.

I don’t think it is a trick ending in that way, mainly b/c right from the beginning it was stated that the PreCrime system was already in jeopardy (it was limited to a specific jurisdiction, and could be eliminated in an upcoming majority vote). Its dismantlement was set up from the beginning.

Also, what’s the best way to have a surprise ending in a movie based on a story that was published decades ago? Change it. The ending is pretty much the opposite of the story it’s based on, so it couldn’t be figured out by fans of the author.

I think it was in there as a possibility, but not a certainty. Kind of like wondering if Deckard is a Replicant. Saying that the end was definitely a fantasy is still a big stretch, in my mind.

But the tone of the movie changed because for once, people started believing Anderton. He’d left enough of a trail that many of the other characters were able to start figuring out what was going on. Just because he was the underdog the whole movie doesn’t mean he can’t still win in the end.

I always thought the gaurd was saying you just live your life over again, not a fantasy life.

In my mind it didn’t change immediately… You still had the ominous evil theme during the conversation with what’s-his-name, the guy who used to run the Precrime. It’s not until the wife barges in with a gun does it change.

the thing that leads me to believe it’s not a trick ending is that precrime is taken off line at the end but I’m under the impression that even after he finds out about minority reports he still believes in the system so why in his fantasy would it be shut down, wouldn’t his fantasy be to go back to work? then again he did change the murder he committed because he knew of the future so maybe that convinced him that the future is not so certain.

awsome! one more movie i don’t have to pay to see! :smiley:

gatopescado, believe me, the description of the plot and seemingly knowing the ending from the spoilers posted should NOT dissuade you from seeing the movie. You will not be disappointed!!

and, CyberPundit, I have seen both movies and they could not be farther apart in plot or mood. I don’t think these spoilers have done anything to take away from AI. I supposed I should say that I really didn’t like AI at all, but I loved Minority Report. (NOT just because Tom Cruise was in it, either!!) :slight_smile:

I’m leaning towards the ending being real. If he’s living out a fantasy why didn’t he fantasize that he finally finds his son, alive and well?

Yeah, please don’t take my comparison to A.I. to mean the plots are similar. That is not the case at all. Believe me, I have given away nothing in A.I.

I think that Daniel may be right that the filmmakers only want to suggest the fantasy ending as a possibility like in Blade Runner. Otherwise they would have been more obvious about it. An ambiguous ending is still a lot richer than the straight-up feel-good ending that most of us thought it was.

As for why the fantasy doesn’t include the son returning perhaps Anderton’s mind is going through possibilities which he can realistically hope for. And obviously cinematically a live son would have been way over the top. I suspect that the filmakers were trying make the ending just feel-good enough so that we aren’t sure whether it’s real or not without making it completely obvious.

My own take was That Agatha was not describing an alternative future to Anderton and his wife: but the future history of a new son. But I think the movie does indeed have an ambiguous ending.

Just saw the film. If Spielberg had wanted to change his rep he would have ended it just as Anderton was placed in lockup. But I imagine that the studio would demand otherwise. The film was certainly dark, although I half expected a little roboruxpin to pop in at any moment. There was certainly a lot of product promo going on throughout the film but it’s tough to imagine how they could do many tie-ins outside the theater.

Right. Take me for instance. I saw the movie and I’m totally clueless as to what these guys are talking about right now. It’s as if we watched two different movies.

Besides, how much more of warning do you need that the plot and/or ending of the movie are going to be discussed at length? You opened the damn thread with plenty of warning.

Quick question-- did the Precogs not foresee Agent Witwer’s murder? It shouldn’t have mattered that in the hour or so preceding it Agatha wasn’t with the the other two-- they said in the beginning that the Precogs can see murders days in advance. And it wasn’t a crime of passion, so it should have been foreseen just like Leo Crow’s murder. I mean, it’s 5:30am and consequently I can’t figure out what difference it would have made for Anderton, but it would have made some difference in the outcome, right?

AudreyK, I believe the answer is that the Precogs can only foresee premeditated crimes days in advance. While you can argue that Witwer’s murder was not a crime of passion per se, it certainly wasn’t premeditated. Not until Witwer implicated the-old-guy-who-I-can’t-remember-his-name did the-old-guy decide he was going to shoot him.
I have another question for the Teeming Millions. I must not have been paying close enough attention at this, but then neither was my daughter because we’ve been puzzled by this ever since we left the theater…

… when John (Tom Cruise) finally does shoot Leo Crow, what exactly happens? First he decides not to shoot Leo and reads him his rights. Then Leo expresses his disappointment that he’s not going to get shot because “they” will take care of his family. Leo grabs the gun, but John talks him into releasing his grip on the gun.

Then the gun goes off? And John is standing there with his arm out holding the smoking gun. For the life of me, we can’t remember exactly what transpired here to cause John to shoot Leo, even though he had chosen not to shoot him.


I thought Crow grabbed Anderton’s gun and jerked it towards himself, causing it to fire.

tanstaafl, that was my response to my daughter when she asked me after the movie. But her follow-up was “then why was Anderton standing there, arm outstretched and sighting down the barrel of the gun at eye level?”

I didn’t have an answer to that logical question.

I think the change in tone of the movie was due to the fact at the point where it became a murder mystery someone started making “stuff” up and no longer following the plot of the original story, hence the diffrent tones.

Never mind, I just saw the flaw in my reasoning. My understanding is that the precogs could see all murders, and the nature of murder only affected how much of time ahead of time the murder was foreseen. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) Unplanned murders are foreseen with the least amount of warning time-- I think in the Marks case they had about 15 minutes.

With regards to Witwer, when Lamar killed him, Agatha had been away from the twins for at least that long, thus unable to help the twins see Witwer’s impending murder.