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Plot: 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? Runtime: 145 mins Release Date: 12 Oct 1995
"Strange Days" literally has something for everyone. Science fiction, violence, peace, romance, comedy, tragedy, action, you name it -- it's in this film, and it's done with class and intelligence. I agree that this one is destined to become a cult classic. However, be prepared for one of the edgiest, most violent and emotionally exhausting films you've ever seen the first three minutes of the film make it very clear what you can expect from the rest . There are at least five climactic scenes toward the end, which must break some kind of record. After the movie's <more>
over, you may feel like you've just been cooked in a vat of boiling oil... but luckily, you'll be perfectly well-done, not burned to a crisp. 10/10.
Strange Days........and a WOMAN directed this?! (by shortround8391)
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 <more>
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.
Too underrated, and too darn good (by jarhead2334)
Spoiler alert The first time I watched Strange Days I was completely blown away. This film had all that I wanted from an action/mystery thriller. With an amazing cast particularly Fiennes and some explosive action, Strange Days was a sordid journey into an alternate universe. spoilers Every character was fascinating, and the FPV scenes were the best I've seen in films. Fiennes plays an ex-cop turned squib dealer squibs are the virtual reality drug of the future who finds himself caught in intrigue and danger after a friend of his is killed. This film has become one of my all-time <more>
favorites, and any self-proclaimed film lover should at least see it.
The answer being, of course, yes I am impressed.What a thoroughly enjoyable film Strange Days is. Fast-moving and occasionally violent, it's not high art but then neither is it dumbed-down fodder and it has much to commend it. The central plot revolves around an ex-cop Fiennes, doing a - to my ears anyway - convincing American accent peddling FBI technology on the black market. The SQUID technology Super conducting QUantum Interface Device electronically absorbs information from the central cortex and allows users to experience the thrill of another's sensations - be it murder, <more>
sex, robbery, etc. Of course, this central idea, while fascinating, does derive pretty much directly from a Twilight Zone episode. Were this a "classic" Zone episode from the b/w era, then people would have picked it up straight away and the game would be over. As it is, the inspiration comes from one of the colour Twilight Zone episodes which had even less viewers than Strange Days and so the movie can rest assured it is safe in obscurity. Give up? Okay, it was episode 23, season three, 1989, "The Mind of Simon Foster". I'm an anorak, I know these things .But whether such were intentional is pretty much irrelevant as the magpie technique of this film takes from many texts and builds something greater than the parts. One of the two greatest science fiction films of the 90s - the other being the excellent "Twelve Monkeys" - both have built-in sell-by dates by fixing their time period in a very near locale. Hence while the supposed date of Monkeys is long past at 98, this film now becomes a historical document as of New Year's Eve 1999. But then does it follow that we will stop watching 2001 in 2002? Hopefully not, and Strange Days is one that too deserves to be revisited in years to come.The reason why I commend it most is its rewarding political stance. The development that gets adhered onto the "Squid" plot directly references the beating of Rodney King. Such contemporary referencing may again date it as quickly as the '99 setting, but then we also have Angela Bassett as a very empowered, yet caring black woman. Note how she and Lenny have exchanged traditional gender roles in this film, yet this feels not like some "macho woman" schtick but genuine characterisation. Lenny is a likeable, wisetalking street peddler who spends the film as a human punchbag. Gone is the cliched jaw-breaking action man role for him, instead his only retort to violence is "I'll give you my Rolex". This sense of, if you like, PC-ness, can also be evidenced with the lesbian couple kissing as the year 2000 breaks, or the one scene only, admittedly appearance of a disabled man as a central character.However, the boundary-pushing elements of this movie are tainted by the appearance of Juliet Lewis in the film. A capable actress, her only role appears to be as a receptacle for various men's sexual needs or to gratuitously expose her breasts on multiple occasions. This is a great shame, and a pity that a film which has such high intentions in almost every other area should fall back on unfortunate portrayal.The dialogue is pitched just about right without being particularly clever, though occasionally it stalls. "You're like a goddamn cruise missile, targetted on making it", Fiennes tells Faith Lewis at one point, managing to keep a straight face. Later, Bassett must endure having to say "These are used emotions. It's time to trade them in" and not use her gun on the scriptwriter. When the credits do roll, it's perhaps no surprise that James Cameron was the co-writer, as its slight perfunctory, by-the-numbers stance often reminds one of the machinations of "Titanic". Tom Sizemore as Max is every inch the one-dimensional Cameron "character", while plot twists sometimes feel heavily engineered. Maybe Jay Cocks is responsible for the script's more "human" feel, with particular note going to the moral debate of whether or not to expose the LAPD's murder of an influential black rapper. The two leads debate internally, as well as verbally, a first for a Cameron movie the implications and the possible consequences of such an action. Despite its flirtation with the mainstream, Strange Days is a film that dares to pervert the traditional course of Hollywood into a future that is worth seeing. Perhaps predictably, it made little impact at the box office.
Yep. It sure shows that Cameron has laid his hand on this film. It has a superb plot, great timing and a spectacular ending - one of the best ever, I might add.Just about everything you see in this film adds to the momentum. Just look in the background. There is always something going on, someone getting arrested or stealing something or burning something... all of it enhances the doomsday feeling you get when watching.I also find Fiennes' acting just short of perfect. His face, his gestures and his entire being reeks of the sordid life his character leads. To cast him was genius. Lewis, <more>
Sizemore, Bassett and Wincott perform excellently as well - but it's really Fiennes that just makes this film happen.Do you want to see something unusual for a change? Do you long to see a believable sf-story for once, even despite the fact that the events of the film took place in 1999? And do you yearn for a sensational film made to make you really feel something? See Strange Days.
Some Conradian musings on a noir uncannily ahead of its time (by Jon-Fougner)
With the unregenerate Philo as its Kurtz, Strange Days plays as a new-millennium "Heart of Darkness" and is well worth a second look on its tenth anniversary. Ten years later, Bigelow's mastery of the Steadicam remains unsurpassed, thanks in part to Cameron's slick incorporation of it into the script as a flashback vehicle. The Steadicam facilitates Bigelow's meta-critique of film itself, reminding us that the reflective, repetitive, regressive, and spectral qualities of movie-watching should always strike us as uncanny.Cameron and Bigelow paint Los Angeles as a <more>
comic-book dystopia. Families, like the sun itself, are long forgottensuperannuated in the rat race for mental and physical space by endless nightclubs, flaming garbage cans, tanks on every corner, a perennial low-lying haze, and cybernetic recordings of the human relationships that once were.Foremost amongst these is Lenny and Faith's lost love. Lenny's cave of an apartment lacks the space or light for viable habitation and functions now only as his solitary screening room. In the film's only elysian scene, Lenny tries to slip back into an era that still knew light and love by replaying a clip on the beach with Faith. But Bigelow's relentless counter-cutting back to shots of him wearing the SQUID underline the untenability of Lenny's retrograde relationship with the past. Later that night, Faith will excoriate him: "You know one of the ways movies are still better than playback? 'Cuz the music comes up, there's credits, and you always know when it's over. It's over!" A few technicalities about Bigelow's climax hint at the richness of this auteur's achievement warning: spoilers follow : By emphasizing its qualities of mirroring, doubling, and Deja Vu, Bigelow pushes the SQUID's potential for uncanny cinema step-by-step to its logical conclusion, ultimately laying bare playback's emptiness as Lenny's way of life. Rife with the terms of his own demise, Lenny's past ultimately collapses in on him as the world plummets towards its own midnight apocalypse. In their dimensions of time and space, and in their featured characters, the clips grow hotter and hotter on Lenny's trail. The implosion of his universe climaxes in his apoplectic playback of Max's apparent snuff clip of Faith. By thematically conflating two previous clips that of Lenny with Faith and the snuff clip of Iris , Bigelow uses the new clip to impose on Lenny and the viewer, of course the uncanny horror of the familiar recast in brutally unfamiliar terms. Ever the uncanny hermeneutic device, the mirror betrays Lenny's own best friend and former partner Max as his back-stabbing, as we will see Judas. Meanwhile, the bend in the mirror furnishes the double reflection that characterizes Max as Janus-faced. Bigelow underscores Max's two faces by "shock" inter-cutting amongst frontal medium closeups, frontal tight closeups, and profile closeups of Max, all without the customary reverse shots. Bigelow once again defies cinematic convention to infuse nightmarish suffocation into her own heart of darkness: Los Angeles on the eve of the millennium. Hollywood anxiety, anyone? Finally recognizing own life literally hanging in the balance, Lenny "Nero" as Los Angeles burns renounces thralldom to yesteryear: He cuts his tiewhich he once told Max was "the one thing that stands between me and the jungle"--and with it he cuts his ties to a dysfunctional past. Viewed in the retrospect of this vertiginous climax, Bigelow's opening shot now reads as a direct quotation of Hitchcock's "Vertigo." Like Hitchcock, Bigelow opens by diving into the retinal black hole of the mind's eye, and like him, she climaxes with a precipitous fall. But Cameron and Bigelow are more generous than Hitch. Whereas the latter stranded his protagonist like a crucified Jesus atop the bell tower, Lenny survives his Judas into a new millennium of love. But Lenny's destiny can only be found deep within the thronging heart of darkness, where, in Bigelow's final shot, his true self and true love are illuminated by fireworks announcing the next thousand years of humankind.
The Most Underrated Of Cyberpunk Noirs (by gogoschka-1)
Probably one of the best big-budget sci-fi films to never reach a big audience. Written and produced by James Cameron and expertly directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this film is more noir than actual sci-fi - although the sci-fi elements are important. With a great cast and an amazing atmosphere throughout, this is one not to miss for fans of thrillers, film noir, sci-fi and especially the subgenre knwon as cyberbunk. 8 stars out of 10.In case you're interested in more underrated masterpieces, here's a list with some of my favorites:imdb.com/list/ls070242495
What a great movie! (by tpaladino)
I had no idea this film even existed until it showed up in my Netflix 'recommended' column, and I decided to give it a shot after reading some good reviews on there. Wow, am I happy I did. This was a truly fantastic sci-fi thriller, with intense action and a truly engaging story. The characters were very well constructed and had a lot of substance to them, and of course the acting was superb. Who knew Ralph Finnes could play such a good lowlife?Set in an alternate but totally recognizable Los Angeles of 1999, the world has seemingly gone completely to hell, due to rampant poverty <more>
and class/racial tensions which are pushing society towards an all-out state of anarchy. The authorities are barely maintaining order, despite resorting to draconian measures to try and keep things in check. The director does an excellent job of painting this picture for us through fantastic environment and background shots which effectively build the tension and make us fully believe what is happening. In this world, they have invented a type of virtual reality which allows an individual to record everything they are seeing and feeling directly through their brain, so as to then be played back later through someone else's brain, which allows the user to then see and feel exactly what was recorded without any danger other than possible addiction . So needless to say a huge black market has sprung up to provide people with recordings of all kinds of illicit, criminal and sexual activities that they'd never actually get to experience in the real world. The plot of the movie builds from this technology.However, other than this particular device and general state of social affairs, the alternate 1999 is pretty much identical to our 1999 very much to it's credit . No flying cars, no wacky fashion, no aliens, no laser guns or anything like that. It was a great decision by the filmmakers to not bite off more than they could chew in that regard, as it would have distracted from a very solid story.The films weaknesses are few, but are there nonetheless. It was a bit long... although I'm not usually one to complain about that kind of thing, so long as the time is necessary to tell the story. In this case an argument can be made either way, though I personally feel they could have lost about fifteen minutes or so but to me it's a minor issue .The director also felt the need to very quickly explain the origin of the virtual reality technology through a throwaway line of dialog, which really added nothing to the plot, and honestly made no sense; they said the technology was originally developed for the FBI so that informants wouldn't have to wear a wire, which is just dumb. The device is WAY more cumbersome and easily discoverable than a wire transmitter. How about saying that the military invented it to train soldiers more realistically? Or just leave it alone... true virtual reality is a technological holy grail. I don't think anyone questions why something like that would be invented in the first place, even if it's purely for entertainment.Additionally, in my opinion, a couple of the 'bad guys' could have had their motivations fleshed out a tad better, but that is a also very minor quibble. Beyond that, the look of the movie is quite dated, which could hinder the enjoyment for some people. The 1990's did not age very well to our eyes, and this movie is VERY much a product of that era. If you lived through it, you know what I mean. Younger viewers may not fully get the social and cultural allusions that this movie is built upon Rodney King riots, 90's hip hop culture, rave clubs... things like that ... just something to keep in mind, although if you did live though it, you'll appreciate the depth that these references add.But really, I can't recommend this film highly enough. It's a completely under-appreciated piece of work, and one of the best sci-fi thrillers out there.
One of the best and also most underappreciated films of the 90's (by tdh_fbi)
"Strange Days" is a unique science fiction and mystery film. Set in Los Angeles during the last two or so days prior to the new millennium, the cast is helmed by Ralph Fiennes as the charming, brave, but shady Lenny Nero. Lenny is a former LAPD officer who loses his job for mostly unknown reasons. He then becomes a black market hustler who sells people's recorded memories for profit. For the most part, these recorded memories are either violent or sexual in nature.Angela Bassett does a great job complementing Fiennes' "Lenny" character in her role as Macy, <more>
Lenny's close friend who makes a more legitimate living as a limo driver and security specialist. Lenny and Macy soon become embroiled in a murder mystery involving corruption within both the LAPD and the music industry. This seemingly ever-deepening mystery also involves Lenny's other close friend, Tom Sizemore's character "Max". Max is a private eye who, despite seeming to be very well-intentioned, is just as shady as Lenny. Juliette Lewis rounds out the cast as "Faith", Lenny's troubled and devious rock singer ex-girlfriend. Besides the awesome and well-acted performances, what made this movie stand out to me is just how on the nose some of the background references are in it. References to an economic collapse, increasing gas prices, and strained relations between the police and minorities make this a very odd foreshadowing of the actual real-life future. In conclusion, great acting, a very deep and interesting storyline, and great cultural references make this a very highly recommended film.