PRE-CRIME *** Germany 2017 Dirs: Matthias Heeder & Monika Hielscher. 88 mins.
A few years ago, China announced they were going to start rating their citizens, based on things like their behavior and spending habits. These scores would impact their daily freedoms—if they were considered “untrustworthy” they would be barred from international travel, education, or property ownership. PRE-CRIME investigates a similar process that’s happening closer to home than most westerners might realize.
Predetermining whether or not someone is going to commit a crime seems like something from science fiction (in fact the documentary borrowed its name from MINORITY REPORT and Philip K. Dick). PRE-CRIME investigates how carefree we are with our data, and how tech companies, governments, and law enforcement organizations are capable of using it against us.
Showing us “pre-crime” models from the UK, Germany, France, and the United States, this doc dives into issues of racism, classism, and our dependence on often unreliable technology. The film asks some thought-provoking questions, although it doesn’t dive as deeply into stories of people affected by data gathering and ranking as it does about the different kinds of technology—which might have made it a more compelling watch. Either way, this film has an illuminating perspective that will make us all think twice before clicking “accept”.
Review by Julia Lynch