Minority Report questions (spoilers)

I really liked this movie, but I am a bit confused about certain parts.

So were there any real minority reports? The murder that John supposedly committed didn’t have one. And the murder of Agatha’s mother didn’t have one either, since everyone seemed to agree that the person who was going to kill Agatha’s mother really would have. It was the echo that revealed the second hidden murder, but that’s not a minority report, that’s a second report. Right?


In the original story that the movie is based on, the three precogs produced separate predictions of the future (rather than different viewpoints of the same prediction, as in the movie). It was as if they “voted”; in case one precog might be wrong, they had a second one to confirm or dispute the prediction. They had a third there as a tie-breaker. If two out of three (the majority) agreed, precrime would act. The third precog’s report was the minority report. In the original story, Anderton had a minority report, but the murder he was accused of was completely different (no mention of a kidnapped son; it had more to do with defending the system of precrime).

In the movie, he had no minority report. The minority reports probably existed (as it was stated, there were quite a few omitted minority reports in the archives), though as the movie set it up (with the other precogs following Agatha’s direction), they’d have to be pretty infrequent.

Nope…we never saw any minority reports in the movie. However, the scientists who set the system up knew of minority reports so they do exist. The characters in the movie thought there may have been a minority report but it turned out there wasn’t one.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: The following questions will almost certainly ruin the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it.
I hope you’ll pardon the hijack but it seems silly to start a new thread relating to the movie Minority Report so here it goes.

  1. Why did the Precogs sense the murder Tom Cruise was to commit four days ahead of time? The movie establishes that crimes of passion can only be sensed a few hours out at most. Pre-meditated crimes could be sensed days in advance. Tom Cruise had never met the man he is supposed to murder yet the Precogs sense it four days in advance. Tom Cruise didn’t know he wanted to murder the guy till moments before he drew his gun. Cruise was clearly operating under ‘crime of passion’ rules at that point.

  2. Why do the Precogs sense Max von Sydow is to commit murder when it turns out he kills himself? Are suicides still sensed by the Precogs as a murder? Is it this discrepency that causes the program to be shutdown since it is shown the Precogs are not 100% infallible?

Spoiler answers:

  1. I think it was premeditated. He did want to murder the man who had killed his son, but he didn’t have any reason to think it was Leo Crow until he walked into the hotel room and saw the pictures. Wasn’t the vision only 36 hours beforehand anyway?

  2. Like Cruise, von Sydow knew that the future could be different from the vision because he had a choice. He chose to kill himself, since explaining the murder or Agatha’s mother would ruin him anyway.


Perhaps due to the fact that one of them (Agatha) was to be an ACTUAL witness to the crime?


A last minute choice to NOT murder Anderton, not to NOT do it, and to kill himself? As Agatha told John - you always have a choice. And John - who DIDN’t have a Minority Report - changed his so he didn’t kill anyone, by using that choice.

Its because although he almost killed Crow in a moment of passion, he DIDN’T. He chose to put the gun down and arrest him. Then he killed Crow by accident more or less. Therefore it was neither a crime of passion nor was it truly premeditated.

My take on Spoiler Question #1:

The pre-cogs picked up on the crime days earlier than would be normal for a crime of passion, because the underlying element of the crime wasn’t passion, but that of a cold-blooded setup on the part of Burgess (played by von Sydow). The pre-cogs picked it up, when the set-up was put into motion.

The fact that this crime was detected unusually early by the pre-cogs should have been the first major clue that something was seriously wrong with the presentation of that prescient vision. The vision wasn’t really a murder committed by Anderton upon Crowe, but rather a suicide of Crowe arranged by Burgess, with Anderton as the unknowing facilitator. Burgess was the true perpetrator behind the crime revealed in the pre-cog vision, and the “murder” wasn’t a crime of passion, but a premeditated arrangement by Burgess. Hence the brown ball. The apparent inconsistency is actually a significant clue.

Burgess knew about the inability of the pre-cogs to look for complex motivations behind murders, and exploited it, just as he exploited other aspects of the weakenesses of the pre-cogs in his more direct murder. The inability to look for deeper motivations behind murders on the part of the pre-cogs was what made the set-up initially successful. That’s why the vision generated a brown ball, instead of a red ball. The brown ball itself is a clue that the murder in the vision was not the true crime of passion murder that was being depicted…there was more going on beneath the surface.

Thread title says that there are spoilers, so I won’t be using the tag.
Tom Cruise murdering Crowe was pre-meditated, just not premeditated by Tom Cruise. Would would have been interesting is if the ball spit out Max Von Sydow as the perpetrator, but the images clearly showed Tom Cruise shooting the victim.
My questions:

  1. Why did Max von Sydow have to make such an elaborate plan to get rid of Agatha’s mother? Why not just lure her out of the range of the pre-cogs and then kill her?

  2. Tom Cruise went straight from arrest to life imprisonment. Apparently the legal system has evolved, not only to accept the idea of precrime, but that there can be no defense. There is such defenses for murder as self-defense and justifiable homicide. Battered-wife syndrome is a defense that has at times been accepted as a defence for pre-meditated murders. Just because pre-crime detection is possible, I’m not sure why the trial goes away.

  3. Can the pre-cogs see murders than never have any intent? Vehicular homicide by a drunk driver, for instance.

  4. How long it would take for murderers to learn that they should commit there crimes in the dark?

  5. If pre-cogs can only predict murder, because it is such a trauma to the fabric of new-age babble, why can Agatha know it is going to rain outside the mall and that a briefcase is going to be dropped.

  6. A key point is made that pre-crime would have prevented what happened to Cruise’s son, thus his loyal devotion. But it wouldn’t have. The kidnapping would not have been predicted. For the murder part, the kidnapper would just have to leave the immediate area (the pre-cogs seem to have a pretty short range).

  7. Presumably the pre-cogs don’t have a range that exactly matches the borders of Washington, D.C., (which is a square) so how often do they see a crime outside of pre-crimes jurisdiction, and what was pre-crime allowed to do about it?
    As for why the pre-cogs showed Cruise being shot when Sydow shot himself instead, it is possible there was a minority report for that instance which was immediately deleted by the software, as intended.

Another question:

For the Tom Cruse set up, what is it the pre-cogs saw? It was their own visions that set the murder in motion. If they didn’t project the murder, no murder would have happened.

Nothing was ever done by ANYBODY to put Tom Cruise on the trail of Crowe. What did Sydow do to put his plan in effect?

Seems a bit of a paradox. The pre-cogs predicted a murder that only happened because they predicted it.

Speaking of “Crow”, did anyone else notice that the guy reading USA Today on the train was Cameron Crowe?

Atreyu, your explanation doesn’t quite work, because it isn’t the case that the pre-cogs predicted what happened but couldn’t show the motivations behind why it happened.

Their visions clearly showed Cruise standing at a distance and shotting Crowe.

I think this counts as premeditated because he had been planning what he would do to the guy who took his son.

I think they say specifically that precogs can’t see sucides. The idea is they saw him kill him, but, there really is a choice and he decided to kill himself instead. (and I guess if there is a choice they can’t convict all those people?)


I have another question. How did Tom Cruise know the precogs saw Max kill him? His whole speach to him is based on that. He could know he was thinking about killing him but how could he know the precogs saw him actually doing it? Apparently they did see it, but TOM CRUISE DIDN’T KNOW THAT!

nah, I agree with Atreyu’s description. They went through trouble of hiring the man, setting up the orgy of evidence, so it’s safe to assume that something else would have been put there to draw Anderton to the murder scene. It was the background scheming that set the ball rolling, so to speak.

Once the setup was far enough along that the outcome was certain, then the murder itself was certain, and could be predicted. I think the whole redball-blackball thing might have been intended as matter of urgency (how far off the crime is, rather than what caused it), even though the characters gave it a different meaning.

Yes, and Cameron Diaz is also there. They both did cameos because Vanilla Sky was shot just before this. Spielberg does a cameo in it, and they both do one in his movie. I heard Cruise say that he literally got done shooting Vanilla Sky one day and was filming Minority Report 24 hours later.

I still don’t completely get the brown ball for Cruise vs. Crowe. I can see that the murder was pre-meditated by Max von Sydow but then why didn’t the pre-cogs lock into von Sydow’s mind? He’s the one doing the planning so he’s the one upsetting the new age order of the universe mumbo jumbo.

My question is this. They were going to expand Pre-Crime to the whole country? Where would they have found all these precogs, since:

  1. They have to be children of women who were taking an early “beta” version of Neuroin while pregnant. So they’d all be about Agatha’s age, and without training would by now have either died or gone irretrievably insane.

  2. The woman who trained the original three has renounced her involvement with Pre-Crime. Who’s gonna train the new ones, Wally?

Here are my issues:

It seems a little inefficient that their entire plan for preventing murders relies on the ability of about five people to visually identify a location. Why didn’t they establish some kind of location identification scheme, so that when the Pre-cogs see a murder, it can be easily located. This society obviously isn’t too concerned with privacy (eye scans everywhere and that sort of thing) and I would think people would be eager to place up identifying plaques inside and around their homes and public spaces so that if they are ever going to be murdered, it will be easy to locate and prevent. Since most of the crimes are crimes of passion, and the pre-cogs see a lot of stuff leading up to the murder, people probably wouldn’t plan ahead enough to cover up the plaques.

What is the deal with aftershocks and time codes? At one point, they dismiss an aftershock because it does not have some sort of “time code”. If that is how they can tell aftershocks, why didn’t they notice that the second murder had a time code…a different time code that the first one even?

Why don’t they just lock people up for the hour they are supposed to commit the murder. Why didn’t Tom Cruise ask himself to get locked up for the hour of the murder that he was supposed to commit? Why don’t they track and arrest people until moments before the attack, at which point they can be arrested on legitamate charges of attempted murder?

well as they say, just because you can prevent it from happening doesn’t mean it wasn’t going to happen. You saved the victim, but the perpetrator is still a murderer.

In other words, it’s legislation. It’s not supposed to make sense :slight_smile:

Honestly, I didn’t think it was weird that they tried to guess the location from visual clues. I thought it was weird that they didn’t just look up the victim’s address as part of their investigation (like in the opening scene, where the guy kills his wife in his own home). They already pulled his file to confirm his identity; while there was no certainty from visual clues that this was his own home, it’s a pretty good starting point for their investigation (better than looking up the location of all local merry-go-rounds).

As for the noticing of the different time-code, don’t forget that there was a reason detectives weren’t allowed inside the temple: the potential for evidence tampering. While the precogs see what they truly see, the detectives see what the computer shows them: a composite. It can all be tampered with. So while there may have been no way to prevent the precogs from seeing the second murder, there could have been a way to mask its timeframe (kind of like setting the wrong date on a camera before taking a picture).

Just saw the movie; very impressed. There are a number of logical inconsistencies of course, the biggest being the central paradox that the situation with Leo Crow in the hotel room only happened because it was foreseen. But it’s good to see a movie that’s really science fiction, dealing with ideas, not just an action movie dressed up in sci-fi.

I think this goes to the heart of the premise: the Pre-Crime cops believe that what the pre-cogs see definitely will happen unless they intervene. So it’s no good telling them that you weren’t really going to do it. So this shows the central flaw of the system: it’s not falsifiable. People are arrested and convicted with no way for them to prove that they wouldn’t have committed the crime. And except in cases like the jealous-husband murder at the beginning, where the perpetrator is stopped in the very act, there’s no proof of what was going to happen outside of the pre-cogs’ visions.

So one of the scary subtexts, besides the obvious surrendering of privacy, is that the legal system would have changed to the point where the Pre-Crime unit could apparently imprison people without any trial.

[hijack]The scenes showing that, in DC in 2054, you can’t escape constant bombardments of advertisements, made me think of the classic sf novel The Space Merchants. Maybe it’s time for a movie version of that book. Actually, I thought of that even before the movie began today in the theater, as I was treated to “pre-show entertainment” consisting of a series of loud annoying ads for the Marine Corps, M&M’s, and NASCAR.

And of course the movie itself was chock-full of product placement. I know that brand names add verisimilitude, but couldn’t they have made up brands? It’s supposed to be 2054; I don’t know if The Gap will still be around, but there’ll definitely be new brands that don’t exist now.[/hijack]

Before Anderton saw the precogs’ vision, their “slumber” was disturbed by several people. When the Precrime cops went into the temple and especially when Agatha becomes conscious and grabs Anderton, I thought that might contaminate the visions. So Anderton disturbing Agatha may have started the ball rolling, so to speak, on the Crowe murder.
Also, I think that a lot of the above comments are dismissive of the new-agey stuff in the movie, but it may be a very important link. Maybe the precogs (mis) predicted Crowes murder because they wanted to shake up the system and get free.