“Symbols are a rich source of meaning in an effective text”
Symbols in minority report are used to invoke ideas that criticize the degree to which the state invades the privacy of individuals through surveillance. Through the use of the symbol of the eye, Steven Spielberg presents us with the classical idea that justice, is blind. Using eyes as a symbol is occurring in the genre of dystopia, novels and movies. Spielberg has incorporated elements plucked from well known dystopian texts such as Nineteen Eighty-Four. This draws viewers to question elements of our modern society, such as surveillance and identity. While eluding viewers to the dangers that the future may hold.
Eyes are seen throughout the film Minority Report. Minority Report opens with a montage of visions from a trio of “pre-cogs”: individuals who have the ability to see into the future, predicting murders before they happen. Their forecasts alert the PreCrime division to arrest a man who’s about to kill his wife and her lover. But then the pre-cogs predict that the leader of the PreCrime unit, John Anderton (Tom Cruise), will commit murder. He’s forced to go on the run from the people he’s trained, trying to get ahead of the future as he unravels a conspiracy that shakes the division to its core. Throughout the film Andertons eyes become more significant as they hold the key to him remaining innocent and holding his identity.
Minority Report holds on to it’s audience with its tension and suspense. After John discovers that he is threatened by the Precrime department, he goes to a doctor to get his eyes replaced. This further disguise him against being caught out, as eyes are often scanned and recognised in public. While he is waiting for his new eyes to heal, he is left blindfolded. Suddenly, the apartment complex that he is hiding in is raided by spiders that have been released by the Precrime force. Their job is to scan each residents eyes in order to find John. The fact that John was blindfolded directly relates to the well-known historical reference that justice is blind. The conventional interpretation of ‘justice is blind’ is that the justice system is impartial. John is aware that precrime is corput. This based upon an accusation that he is going to murder somebody, however, he knows he will not commit this crime. This places him as a warrior for justice in a society that believes precrime is in place for their safety, rather than being unfair and obtrusive. Although John was blindfolded and threatened in the scene, he is still the most knowledgeable and aware. John is seeking justice, yet he is blind. This conveys a stern warning about surveillance and identity, and how we must protect our internal thoughts and feelings in order to remain innocent.