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“Anne Lively…But I never said she drowned.”

April 7, 2013

Burgess

Okay, here’s the my-hair-is-standing-on-end moment in Minority Report:

BURGESS
Lara, John was the best cop I ever
knew, and in some ways, the best
man. But the scars he carried
around, well…
(shakes his head)
I know that he’d want us to honor
the good things we remember about
him.
She keeps looking at him. He smiles.

BURGESS
But I also know why he married you:
you’re as stubborn as he is.

LARA
Lamar —

BURGESS
All right. Tell you what I’ll do.
First thing Monday, I’ll look over
the Witwer evidence and I’ll have
Gideon run the Containment files,
see if anyone drowned a woman named
— what did you say her name was?

LARA
(beat)
Anne Lively… But I never said she
drowned.

Burgess looks at her, his expression slowly going icy as his
Secretary once more reappears.

I think this is actually a fairly common device in films – and probably in other media too. The only other example I can think of at the moment is this scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I’m sure there are many more:

Professor Moody: Were there others? In the graveyard, were there others?
Harry: …I don’t think I said anything about a graveyard, Professor.

Moody

My question is whether this little move has a name. Anybody?

Okay, I have a few more questions:

  1. Would this scene have been more effective if we hadn’t first seen Burgess murder Witwer? Would that have made for a better film? (Yes, I’m second guessing Steven Spielberg. So sue me!)
  2. Is there anything inherently philosophical about these moments of discovery? Philosophy is full of ah-ha moments, of course. But is there any special connection?
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