When this came out, it was a big hit but under appreciated for what ground it broke in the world of movies. The technological vision alone is worthy of high praise for its sensitivity to evolution in the fields of computing, automotive transportation, law enforcement and robotics. But the true mastery of film production comes with the seamless weaving of intense and extremely complex plot twists with an easy to assimilate format to the audiences. This is an extraordinary story with unusual abundances of turns, tropes and surprises. Cruise delivers a highly charged emotional and powerful performance-- one of his best pictures as well, perhaps since "The Color of Money". Spielberg makes an erratic and chaotic adventure into a smooth ride without over saturating the senses or making it hard to keep up, just to understand what's going on within the character relationships or subtleties of the ironical storyline. The theme of the Civil War is not often cited by reviewers but the motion picture begins with a pre-crime which centers around Lincoln's eye sockets (a pre-crime murderer is involved in the removing of Lincoln's eyes from a cutout which relates to his child's school project). The end shows us Von Sydow's character accepting and then using a 'Civil War General's' handgun, which has 5 gold plated bullets which are described as ending the suffering of the Civil War. There is the famous meeting of the 5 tribes which helped formulate the US Constitution and Lincoln is quoted within the film as suspending habeas corpus within his war. Lincoln is very often cited as the most 'psychic' of Presidents. This reviewer has maintained a Lincoln theme to "Back to the Future" as well (see lincolnwasadummy.com). We are clearly missing something inside the minds of the production team here as it regards the Lincoln era of history, but it makes for even more deep analysis and interest to this masterful movie maker coming out with one of his most brilliant and daring movies. Aside from any of that, this is just a highly entertaining and fast paced film with plenty for all ages, all genres (from horror to crime to action to sci fi to thriller to mystery to even some comedy).
Absolutely 5 stars. This film is aging well and has not lost any of its edge, even after 17 years. Astounding movie making!