Minority Report (Film)

Style

Minority Report is a futuristic film which portrays elements of a both dystopian and utopian future.[108] The movie renders a much more detailed view of its future world than the book, and contains new technologies not in Dick's story.[109] From a stylistic standpoint, Minority Report resembles Spielberg's previous film A.I.,[62] but also incorporates elements of film noir. Spielberg said that he "wanted to give the movie a noir feel. So I threw myself a film festival. Asphalt Jungle. Key Largo. The Maltese Falcon."[10] The picture was deliberately overlit, and the negative was bleach-bypassed during post-production.[110] The scene in which Anderton is dreaming about his son's kidnapping at the pool is the only one shot in "normal" color. Bleach-bypassing gave the film a distinctive look; it desaturated the film's colors, to the point that it nearly resembles a black-and-white movie, yet the blacks and shadows have a high contrast like a film noir picture.[110][111] The color was reduced by "about 40%" to achieve the "washed-out" appearance.[112] Elvis Mitchell, formerly of The New York Times, commented that "[t]he picture looks as if it were shot on chrome, caught on the fleeing bumper of a late '70s car."[113]

Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński shot the movie with high-speed film,[112] which Spielberg preferred to the then-emerging digital video format.[114] The movie's camera work is very mobile, alternating between handheld and Steadicam shots, which are "exaggerated by the use of wide angle lenses and the occasional low camera angle" to increase the perception of movement according to film scholar Warren Buckland.[112] Kamiński said that he never used a lens longer than 27mm, and alternated between 17, 21, and 27mm lenses, as Spielberg liked to "keep the actors as close to the camera as possible". He also said, "We staged a lot of scenes in wide shots that have a lot of things happening with the frame."[112] The duo also used several long takes to focus on the emotions of the actors, rather than employing numerous cuts.[115] Spielberg eschewed the typical "shot reverse shot" cinematography technique used when filming characters' interactions in favor of the long takes, which were shot by a mobile, probing camera.[116] McDowell relied on colorless chrome and glass objects of curved and circular shapes in his set designs, which, aided by the "low-key contrastive lighting", populated the film with shadows, creating a "futuristic film noir atmosphere".[112]

Buckland describes the film's 14 minute opening sequence as the "most abstract and complex of any Spielberg film."[14] The first scene is a distorted precog vision of a murder, presented out of context. The speed of the film is sped up, slowed, and even reversed, and the movie "jumps about in time and space" by intercutting the images in no discernible order.[117] When it ends, it becomes clear that the scene was presented through Agatha's eyes, and that this is how previsions appear to her.[117] Fellow scholar Nigel Morris called this scene a "trailer", because it foreshadows the plot and establishes the type of "tone, generic expectations, and enigmas" that will be used in the film.[118] The visions of the pre-cogs are presented in a fragmented series of clips using a "squishy lens" device, which distorts the images, blurring their edges and creating ripples across them.[119] They were created by a two-man production team, hired by Spielberg, who chose the "layered, dreamlike imagery" based on some comments from cognitive psychologists the pair consulted.[120] In the opening's next scene, Anderton is "scrubbing the images", by standing like a composer (as Spielberg terms it), and manipulating them, while Jad assists him. Next the family involved in the murder in Agatha's vision is shown interacting, which establishes that the opening scene was a prevision. The picture then cuts back to Anderton and the precogs' images, before alternating between the three.[121] The opening is self-contained, and according to Buckland acts merely as a setup for numerous elements of the story.[122] It lasts 14 minutes, includes 171 shots, and has an average shot length of five seconds as opposed to the 6.5 second average for the entire film. The opening's five-second average is attained despite "very fast cutting" in the beginning and ending, because the middle has longer takes, which reach 20 seconds in some instances. Spielberg also continues his tradition of "heavily diffused backlighting" for much in the interior shots.[112]


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