Minority Report Plot Question

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Enjay
 
 
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Minority Report Plot Question

Post by Enjay »

I have a question about the film "Minority Report". There will be spoilers ahead, but the film is 20 years old. You've had a chance to watch it. :P

The film was just broadcast on network TV here and I watched for probably the first time since its release. I was reminded of something that bugged me then, and it still bugs me. (There are several other plot holes too, but this one just confuses me from a film-making point of view.)

In one scene, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) goes to visit a back-street doctor to get his eye balls replaced so that he can avoid retinal scans that will identify him. After the doctor administers the anaesthetic, Anderton recognises the doctor as someone he had previously arrested. They talk about it and the doctor had been arrested and imprisoned for torturing his patients, including burning them, while they were under anaesthetic and unable to defend themselves. The doctor then goes on to sarcastically thank Anderton for the pretty unpleasant experience that he had in prison. Then, with Anderton bound onto the operating table with his eyes held open by clamps, the doctor says something like "thank you for giving me the opportunity to get to know myself so much better, and now to return the favour".

To me that whole build up was clearly setting the scene for Anderton to be caught off guard, realise too late that he was now helpless at the hands of someone with a vendetta against him, we are told about the likely method of revenge and the doctor even makes a pretty explicit threat that he is going to exact his revenge.

But...

As far as I can tell, the operation is carried out exactly as Anderton and the doctor agreed. Anderton is seen post-operation with new eyes and no additional trauma. He is even left in an (admittedly very grim) apartment to recover, given the means to find the kitchen and toilet until he can see again, given advice not to un-bandage for 24 hours and even given a device to temporarily alter his facial muscles to disguise him further. In fact, he is told that this device will really hurt (not sure if it means when used or when returning to normal, or both) and we don't really even get that impression when we see it used (a bit sore, but not hurting like the "nothing you ever felt before" levels of pain Anderton is warned about), and we don't see how the return to normal affects him either. So, why was the warning about it being painful in there?

So what gives? Was a scene cut? Did Anderton have some way of ensuring that the doc did what he was asked that we didn't see? Why all the build-up and implied threat if the operation was just carried out with no additional shenanigans? It just feels weird.

I've tried googling but can't find an answer. It's a bit of a long shot but, does anyone know?
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Enjay
 
 
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Re: Minority Report Plot Question

Post by Enjay »

I found this video that shows a little bit of the build up (it does not have the discussion of the previous crimes) and the post operative "care".



edit:
This one has the discussion of the crimes:
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DeeDeeOZ
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Re: Minority Report Plot Question

Post by DeeDeeOZ »

My gut feeling is it's supposed to be the doctor's way of showing how when the tables of power are turned (ability to affect the others life astronomically), he is a bigger man then Cruise and that he somehow actually learnt his lesson in prison (based on no evidence in his attitude or practices). He could have easily taken his revenge on him while he was sedated, and also got his money, but no he did job perfectly and even helped unnecessary (because he's better then him). Feels like pretty poor writing and they could have made the impact better by making him look more professional/less sleazy and seem remorseful instead of joking.

But the quick scene change really does make it feel like a scene is missing. Don't know if this helps.
But now I'm going to have to watch it again, as I remember there was a whole bunch of stuff that bothered me in it.
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Enjay
 
 
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Re: Minority Report Plot Question

Post by Enjay »

Yes, that does make sense, and you can sort of get that impression from what the doctor says if you choose to interpret things that way. Just an extra line or two from the doctor would have made it more explicit though - issue the threat, and then say something that means "but I'm not going to do that" or whatever.

I know that seems a bit crass, but the way that the scene was filmed, it leads you in one direction without confounding expectations in a satisfactory way. It was handled clumsily. The build up really felt like you were meant to anticipate something bad was going to happen (or try to happen) but it just kind of went off without incident leaving an "oh, was that it" kind of feeling or even a feeling of confusion. Lots of ominous build-up and no pay off. Nothing wrong with subverting expectations, but confusing an audience in this way is not good.

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