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It's the eve of the millennium in Los Angeles, December 31, 1999. Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) is an ex-cop turned street hustler who preys on human nature by dealing the drug of the future. It's an environment that will lead him deep into the danger zone when he falls into a maze filled with intrigue and betrayal, murder and conspiracy. Angela Bassett and Juliette Lewis co-star in this provocative, action-packed thriller written by James Cameron (Titanic, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day).
- 2 deleted scenes
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The story is set in the future (2000) where memories are recorded and shared illegally - people are hooked on experiencing each other's lives, with some of the less kosher experiences being traded like drugs. The film opens with a 5-6 minute point-of-view sequence (cleverly designed to look like one shot) of a robbery than ends in the death of the person recording the experience, so it provides the thrill of the hold-up with an element of snuff. It's a highly effective way to introduce the topic. The story revolves around a rape/murder that is captured as a clip, and trying to identify the killer amidst an environment of corrupt cop, a Los Angeles torn apart by riots and racism, and our hero (Ralph Fiennes) trying to move on with his life and quit his addiction to clips.
I lived in the UK when I saw this in 1995 and what prevented the movie from being a blockbuster hit was the rape sequence. It's actually essential to the telling of the story but wow did audiences run away in droves. By today's standards, where we have Robocop airing on cable at 9am, it's not *that* shocking which is more of a reflection of our desensitization than anything else. But nevertheless it derailed the movie back then and I remember people walking out of the theater at the time.
In the history of film, it will stand as a great example - maybe the only example - of James Cameron collaborating fully with someone else. It's clearly a production of two people and is much stronger than if either had created it individually. The subplots are more complicated than some of Cameron's other films and the cinematography and action are better than many of Bigelow's movies. There are some great performances from Angela Bassett and Ralph Fiennes - and Tom Sizemore, Vincent d'Onofrio and Michael Wincott are good value as ever.
This is a movie of Love is Pain, Pain is Pleasure, and Pleasure is Everything.
A great end of the millennium movie, and a great love story too. So next
New Years Eve, get this movie and have a Happy New Year! Thank You
At its most basic level, "Strange Days" is a thriller -- futuristic film noir, with all of the traditional characters. But don't let the title or the plot summaries fool you -- this is a film that is less about new technology, science fiction and the future, and much more about the volatility of race and police relations in the USA, laced with strong athemes of unrequited love, trust, and the darker side of massive urban cities in the USA -- all presented in a frighteningly authentic manner. This is a character-driven movie, not an effects-driven one.
This is also an ensemble piece, where even characters with just a few lines are essential to the mood and presentation, as well as giving the main actors juicy moments to play off of. Director Kathryn Bigelow maintains a frantic, claustrophobic pace in this film, never going for the obvious -- every scene has a point, big or small, which you know in the moment or that you will learn about later. The soundtrack enhances the visuals in a way rarely experienced in a modern film.
If nothing else, you will love Angela Bassett. She's amazing not for the kung fu moves -- her character is the voice of reason, and her performance is stunningly genuine (and heart-breaking at times).
This movie is as flawed, and as classic, as Bladerunner. Time will tell if it gets as much respect.