Tom Cruise’s Best Sci-Fi Movie Just Landed On Netflix

Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, is streaming on Netflix.

By Jessica Scott | Updated

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Minority Report is now streaming on Netflix. Tom Cruise’s 2002 science fiction film has been a hit with audiences for two decades and sees the actor star as John Anderton, chief of the Precrime police department. This department relies on tips obtained from three psychics (“precogs”) to catch criminals before crimes are committed. 

Tom Cruise’s character is framed for one of those predicted crimes in this film director Steven Spielberg describes as being “fifty percent character and fifty percent very complicated storytelling with layers and layers of murder mystery and plot.”

It is very loosely based on a short story of the same name by Phillip K. Dick, who also gave filmmakers the inspiration for movies like Total Recall and Blade Runner. The former was based on a story called “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” and the latter was based on one called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (Who knows why the movie titles are shorter…).

Minority Report was the first movie to use what filmmakers fittingly called “previz,” a shortened version of “previsualization,” which was a production design that was completely digital. Production designer Alex McDowell described using Photoshop instead of painters to change the scenery, and blocking out shots ahead of time with a simulated set and digital actors, making the creation of the film just as futuristic as the film itself.

Audiences were extremely eager to see Minority Report when it was released in 2002 for two reasons. First, movie fans were already drawn toward big blockbuster action movies at the time, which were seeing an upsurge after the events of September 11, 2001. And second, it was the first time Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg collaborated.

The film earned $358 million at the box office, more than tripling its production budget of $102 million. Reviewers loved Tom Cruise’s compelling, action-packed performance as well as Spielberg’s directing, visual effects choices, and action sequences. 

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Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell in Minority Report (2002)

The only flaws critics found in the film were that, at 145 minutes long, it was much longer than the average blockbuster – and much more complex than audiences were used to. Some critics believed the plot was too complicated for viewers to follow, but with an audience score of 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes still today, it is fair to say that this opinion isn’t shared by everyone.

Audiences were drawn to the film’s unique premise, which begins in 2054, where the Precrime squad prevents most crimes before they ever happen. It is predicted that Tom Cruise’s character will commit a murder of someone he doesn’t even know and he then sets out to prove his future innocence, and to discover the “minority report,” which is the prediction of one of the “precogs” that may prove he is not a murderer after all.

Aside from Tom Cruise, the top-billed cast includes Max von Sydow as Director of Precrime Lamar Burgess, Colin Farrell as Danny Witwer, an agent from the Department of Justice, and Samantha Morton as Agatha Lively, the most talented of the precogs relied upon by the police department. 

The movie was originally meant to be made 10 years earlier, as a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall, but the producers couldn’t get Schwarzenegger (or investors) interested in the project. His loss was Tom Cruise’s gain, though, because when the movie finally got made in 2002, it was a big hit for the actor and is still seen as one of our generation’s great sci-fi flicks.