Society has made some important leaps in criminal technology. They have the means whereby they can detect a crime and stop it before it occurs. Those who are caught are imprisoned as if they had already committed the crime. It seems like a great solution until one of the top law enforcers is predicted to commit murder. He must try to prove his innocence and along the way make a decision as to whether this technology really is good for society.
From the previews we were expecting an action packed movie and also had some doubts that it could be as good as some of the critics have said. It was better than we expected! I even checked out the short story from the library in hopes of getting more of the same experience (I was rather disappointed, the movie was loads better.)
Moral Value - Failure to Communicate?
There was a strong theme of agency exhibited throughout the film seeing how it revolves around capturing and imprisoning people before they actually have a chance to commit their premeditated crime. Tom Cruise is presented with the opportunity to fulfill his fate (and actually commit the crime as foretold by the precogs) or make his own destiny by making the right choice.
The story mentions that sometimes we have to "go through darkness to get to light". This is an important part of agency. There is an opposition to all things; we must endure some pain and misery in order to fully appreciate God's love and the blessings he has to offer to his faithful sons and daughters.
We get a hint at the wrongfulness of PreCrime just by the fact that the story takes place in garish hues, a lot of black and white tones, whereas before PreCrime, as evidenced in the flashback at the pool where Cruise loses his son, is full of vibrant color.
The fact that the minority reports exist and that there is a possibility for some people to not go through with their initial decisions helped Cruise realize the implication of sending all accused to prison. Basically that not everyone will always follow through with their evil devices, some will recognize in the moment before the crime that what they are doing is wrong, making them still innocent and giving them full agency to choose for themselves. This agency is crucial to our development. From the time we are little children till we die, we learn from our choices (not our preconceived notions).
Lamar thought killing Ann Lively was in society's best interest, allowing him to keep the key precog, Agatha, and continue preventing crime. President Benson had something to say of such people:
"Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people [not deliberately trying to destroy America] who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own….THE HARM DONE BY ORDINARY CRIMINALS, MURDERES, GANGSTERS, AND THIEVES IS NEGLIGIBLE IN COMPARISON WITH THE AGONY INFLICTED UPON HUMAN BEINGS BY THE PROFESSIONAL ‘DO-GOODERS’, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others – with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means."