In 1999, Los Angeles is racial war zone with the army and LSPD and SWAT officers fighting Afro-American people. The former cop Lenny Nero is a dealer of illegal recording in CDs that gives the memories and sensations of the recorder to the user. He buys the recordings from the supplier Tick; he misses his former mistress Faith, who was a hooker and now is a singer; his best friend is the private eye Max Peltier and the limousine driver Lornette 'Mace' Mason, who has unrequited love for him. Two days before the turn of the century, the black rapper Jeriko One is murdered. The hooker Iris seeks Lenny out but there is an incident and they do not talk to each other. However she drops a recording into Lenny's car while he unsuccessfully tries to meet Faith at a night-club. However her boyfriend Philo Gant does not let them talk. When Lenny learns that Iris was sadistically raped and killed, he gets involved in a sick scheme and discovers dirty hidden secrets.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I guess James Cameron made action films better for all of us. Not just for the audience, but for the actors and the people involved in the movies too. He even smashed the gender barrier in the world of action movies and gave us the toughest females ever (Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, Helen Tasker, and Lindsay Brigman). And in 1995 he wrote up a screenplay that had a really fascinating story about the impending millennium and he called it "Strange Days". But instead of directing it, he decided to hand over the directing duties to his ex-wife Katheryn Bigelow, who made "Point Break" a few years before. And I've gotta say, women have really earned their place in action cinema, and we owe it to good ol' James Cameron.
Strange Days tells the story taking place at the turn of the millennium from the 1000's to the 2000's and from 1999 to 2000. And due to the fact that it's a science fiction film, it features an outlawed device called SQUID that people can use with inserted discs to see, feel and experience an event that someone else already recorded. And a former cop named Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) who is now a hustler and seller of this device frequently uses the thing that he devotes his life to in order to experience the old memories of his ex-wife. And two other sub-plots emerge when he gets a disc that reveals corruption in the LAPD and another that shows a serial killer stalking, raping and murdering women. And it all finally converges at the end.
Two years after playing the heartless Nazi Amon Goeth in "Schindler's List", Ralph Fiennes shows a completely different side of him in here. His character Lenny Nero is basically a vulnerable, weak guy who happens to be a lying, deceiving and vain hustler and due to his occasional silliness, it's almost impossible to see the negative aspects of his personality. He's also quite stubborn and a fool for love since his ex-wife chose fortune and fame over him. And Fiennes was perfectly cast here due to his skill of conveying several personality traits into a character. Also, his character is somewhat unique since he isn't really as macho and he seems to be more feminine due to his clothing style of silk and spandex. And we all know we can't keep ripping-off other movie characters to be make a profit, and "Strange Days" does the opposite. It does what it should do to get originality.
My favorite acting performance in here was, without a doubt, Angela Basset as Mace. We all know that James Cameron constantly puts tough female characters in his films, but Mace in "Strange Days" takes the cake! She serves as Lenny's bodyguard and provides a couple cool fight scenes. Mace used to be an average woman and then her husband got arrested and when he started doing time, Mace completely changed and became more masculine, kinda like Sarah Connor between the first two Terminator movies.
Tom Sizemore, who is a Bigelow regular, is great as Lenny's best pal and Juliette Lewis is great as Nero's ex-wife and she provides a realistic portrayal as the hot woman who wants nothing but money and could care less for morality and love. She also does some great singing in a couple scenes when she's performing with her band. And the dirty cop Steckler played by Vincent D'Onofrio before his Law and Order days, is played flawlessly and he's a pretty scary guy and he's willing to do anything to cover up what he and his partner did (although I'm not gonna tell exactly what in this review, you'll have to watch and find out).
"Strange Days" has got it all; action, science fiction, suspense, and romance. The SQUID things were really something cool, original and creative, and it would be even better if it was really invented someday. This isn't really as action-packed as James Cameron's movies tend to be like, since it's got a different director, but the vision of Los Angeles is just remarkable, there's arson fires and riots packed in almost every scene and its just horrifying. Even though it hasn't happened yet, it makes you think and it makes you worry, especially if you're foolish enough to be living in LA.
And remember, a woman actually made one of the greatest action adventures of all time. Katheryn Bigelow, we salute you.
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