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
The ending credits end with the dedication "To Gertrude". See more »
Two scenes cut from the film for pacing are available on the US domestic laserdisc and DVD. The first one shows Lenny Nero trying to "boost the gain" on the first snuff clip so he can make out the face of the murderer (and very nearly frying his brain in the process). The second shows how Lenny and Mace sneak into "the most sold-out party in history:" they swipe a pair of media badges from cameramen. The main cameraman, Vincent, is portrayed by Hill Harper, and Lenny jumps in his shot, which is where the view of his face on the big-screen TV in the square comes from. See more »
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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