Set in the year 1999 during the last days of the old millennium, the movie tells the story of Lenny Nero, an ex-cop who now deals with data-discs containing recorded memories and emotions. One day he receives a disc which contains the memories of a murderer killing a prostitute. Lenny investigates and is pulled deeper and deeper in a whirl of blackmail, murder and rape. Will he survive and solve the case? Written by
Harald Mayr <email@example.com>
Strange Days is a truly astonishing science fiction offering, part scripted by James Cameron and directed with relentless panache by maverick lady-director Kathryn Bigelow. It presents a depressing and bleak, yet worryingly probable, view of the near future, and hooks its story threads upon the impending millennium eve celebrations. Although December 31st, 1999, has been and gone since the making of this movie, it is a credit to the makers that this film still offers a plausible viewpoint about where the world might be at in the next decade or so.
Ralph Fiennes seems initially miscast, but soon wins over the audience as Lenny Nero, a sleazy racketeer who sells "memories" captured on some form of disk, similar to virtual reality but recorded from real experiences rather than computerised ones. He is desperately trying to get back with his ex-girlfriend Faith (Juliette Lewis), but she doesn't want him as she has hooked up with a music producer named Philo (Michael Wincott). Lenny acquires two disturbing tapes, one showing the rape and murder of a woman, the other showing a racially motivated slaying, and before he knows it he is on the run from the culprits who want to kill him before he exposes their crimes. The only person he can trust is his best friend, lady bodyguard Mace (Angela Bassett). To complicate matters further, his ex-girlfriend Faith seems to know something about the disks, and may either be involved in the crimes or at great risk from those responsible.
Bassett is the real star here, in the role of a lifetime as a morally strong and physically stronger heroine. Lewis plays the same old white trash girl she has played many times, but at least she has the experience to bring total conviction to the role. The production values are incredibly high, especially the party at the end which seems to realistically convey an entire city celebrating in the streets. The plot unfolds slowly, but this is a strength rather than a criticism. Each new development slots into place beautifully, and the audience is given time to get into the characters and the situations (which, in too many movies, we are not allowed to do since the pace is often too frenetic).
Strange Days is challenging and aggressive and frequently disturbing. It is also inventive and exciting and ingeniously staged. It is simply a terrific science film which any devotee of the genre absolutely must see.
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