A clever little sci-fi thriller that falls apart utterly in its final act. Instead of fulfilling its destiny in the hotel room with Anderton, the pedophile, and the gun, the movie careens off its tracks, substituting a riotously idiotic conspiracy and trampling the fate-v.-free-choice theme it had developed. The last shot, of a little ocean-side cabin bathed in honeyed sunlight, is so ridiculous it almost seems a cry for help.
It's really a marvelous film until the two-thirds point, and sometimes when I catch it on cable I try to convince myself that everything that happens after Tom Cruise gets "halo'd" is just a dream inside his imprisoned brain - which would explain how a dystopian sci-fi story turns into a mediocre Columbo episode in the final reel. But I don't think that's what Spielberg had in mind.
Meanwhile, Peter Suderman writes that "from a creative perspective, the Beard has gone soft in his old age. From a technical perspective, he’s approaching flawless." I wouldn't disagree, and Spielberg's stunning technical proficiency is one reason why I've seen every movie he's made in the past ten years, frustrating as I've often found them. I do think, though, that - as our disagreement about Ratatouille suggests - Peter's a little more interested in filmmaking-as-craft and I'm a little more interested in filmmaking-as-storytelling, which makes him more favorably inclined toward later Spielberg than I.