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Heroes of the Zeroes: Minority Report

by on July 18, 2010
 

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Minority Report”
Rated PG-13
2002

Trashing Oprah’s furniture and tongue-lashing Matt Lauer weren’t smart, but by then, Tom Cruise had exhausted all the craziness with which he could get away.

That’s because from 1999 to 2004, Cruise still globally grossed $1 billion from a virtually uninterrupted streak of bizarre, not-entirely-mainstream mind games —  “Eyes Wide Shut,” “Magnolia,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Collateral” and “Minority Report.”

Vigorously entertaining and tremendously weird, 2002’s “Report” felt like a Steven Spielberg Action Comics-style adventure film spiked with Terry Gilliam’s brown acid.

Stanley Kubrick’s view of easily corruptible humanity rattled around in Spielberg’s blood after 2001’s “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence,” as “Minority Report” infuses Philip K. Dick’s classic sci-fi noir with deep cyberpunk cynicism.

In 2054 Washington, D.C., “precogs” are able to foresee and, by proxy, prevent murder. When the “precogs” envision top cop John Anderton (Cruise) committing murder, he goes on the run to determine whether or not he’s been framed.

Cruise’s hotfooted route takes daffy detours and conjures canny comedy to accompany its vivacious, hold-your-breath thrills — from robot spiders that scale humans to scan retinas to a scene where John must chase down his own eyeballs.

Because all thrill rides have rules and regulations, “Report” chewed over Precrime’s ethical ramifications and presciently predicted an accumulated lack of anonymity in the future.

Honestly, “Report’s” much-debated denouement — either Spielbergian sunshine or sinister subtlety — worked both ways. However interpreted, “Minority Report” racked up uncommon melancholy for a blockbuster — concerning how ruthlessly demons can determine our fate no matter how relentlessly we may flee from them.