Sunday, September 03, 2006

Film Fear

In the film Minority Report, set in the not-too-distant future, a ‘pre-crime’ police force detects and prevents crimes before they are committed. The hypothetical perpetrators are then cryogenically frozen for the terms of their hypothetically natural lives. Once you get over wondering why cars always have to drive vertically in films set in the future, you are free to consider the moral dilemma, ‘how can you be sure the crime would have taken place?’

Cut to present day Britain and a Prime Minister increasingly given to paranoid delusions regarding the threat posed by children to our safety and well-being. Freshly returned from his Caribbean holiday, Tony Blair has decided that the new school year can mean only one thing – children are all a year older and that means more teenagers.

Happily, one of his basement boffins has come up with an answer for dealing with this growing ‘menace to society’ that combines all of Tony’s favourite things – dodgy science, thought surveillance and breeding out the poor. It is possible to detect trouble-making children before they are even born. A film is planned – working title Ethnic Minority Report. Roman Polanski is to direct and Tony Blair will be executive producer. Tom Cruise, who is to star, today said, ‘I am keen to star in a film where I am the tallest person in it, or any film really, at this stage.

Here is the chilly premise as pitched to Dreamworks by Blair himself,

‘If you’ve got someone who is a teenage mum, not married, not in a stable relationship, here is the support we are prepared to offer you, but we do need to keep a careful watch on you and how your situation is developing because all the indicators are that your type of situation can lead to problems in the future.’

Incidentally, pregnant girls below the age of consent account for .07 per cent of the population. But then again they are most likely going to have at least six children by different fathers so I suppose pyramid logic applies. Like the game six degrees of separation, in which you can link anyone in the world to anyone else. These girls are capable of renting the entire moral fabric of the planet asunder in their long breeding cycle. Their combined promiscuity will eventually bring them into contact with the entire world population. They must be stopped.

But that’s all in the future. What about now? What about the growing menace of children already in existence gathering in playgrounds to, err, talk? The answer is to have the police, who have nothing better to do, write down their names and put them on a database. This is good practice for the police who must keep their literacy, communications and IT skills up to date. It does no harm to anyone because if the children are doing no wrong they have nothing to fear.

Wilfully talking in a public place is actually wrong below the age of sixteen. If you are a teenager you should be aware that you are breaking a law that, although has not actually been written down anywhere, makes perfect sense. Once you have been caught talking, you become someone who is ‘known to police’. This entitles the police to come round to your house and drink your parents’ tea. Everyone should be glad of this because it has cut down on the catering bills at police stations in the most disadvantaged areas, whose budgets are seriously stretched.

The police officers (they have to travel in pairs for their own safety), then explain to your parents why they have to keep your name on their files even though you haven’t actually done anything wrong because you are now ‘known to police’. This is quite hard as the framework for explaining something that hasn’t happened is not yet in place. Parents of teenagers should make sure they have ready supplies of tea and be aware that most police officers take three sugars.

Casting for the copious delinquent parts in Ethnic Minority Report will take place in parks and outside police stations near you this autumn. In their quest for gritty realism, the film makers are keen to cast unknowns but don’t be thinking this is a way out of the ghetto. Successful candidates will wear hoodies and have their faces pixilated in the final cut. Please form an orderly queue and do not speak unless spoken to.

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