This is one of Minority Report’s most celebrated shots, and with good reason too. In fact, I think it’s one of the best shots of Spielberg’s entire career, so perfectly does it sum up the film’s major theme of the need to let go of fantasy and face reality.
The shot comes towards the end of the second act when Anderton has tracked the mysterious Leo Crow down to a hotel room. Anderton is fated to kill Crow, but at this stage doesn’t even know who he is. As the sequence continues, we are told that Crow is the killer of his son, Sean, but this is later revealed to be a lie - Crow is just a stooge.
Agatha begs Anderton not to proceed, but he continues anyway. The above shot portrays Agatha as a sort of Jiminy Cricket, resting on Anderton’s shoulder and acting as his conscience. She can see the future, she is the living embodiment of the dream of a crime-free future that Pre-Crime strives for, but she sees the fallacy in it. “You have a choice,” she says, “walk away, do it now.”
Anderton, still obsessed with Pre-Crime and the hope that it will lead to his son’s killer or at least assuage his guilt for allowing the death to happen, ignores her. “I can’t. I have to see what happened in my life.”
It’s that desire to know, to have certainty, that is Anderton’s problem. Life, Minority Report argues, is about not knowing. You cannot possibly understand everything that happens in life - you can’t explain something as hideous as murder and you certainly can’t prevent it from happening. You simply have to face the fact that such things do happen and get on with your life.
We all grasp that, but we still want answers anyway. We are split between the two, just as Anderton is split in this wonderful, weird shot that portrays him as a sort of two headed monster and beautifully conveys one of the tragic flaws of humanity.