Year: 1995 Genre: Science Fiction Studio: 20th Century Fox Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juilette Lewis, Tom Sizemore Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Strange Days is set in Los Angeles the last days of 1999 and tells the story of an ex-cop named Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes). After Nero is driven out of the LAPD, he becomes a dealer and addict of memory encoded data-discs whose daily fix requires reliving past memories of his relationship with his musician ex-girlfriend (Juilette Lewis).
Nero receives a data-disc in which a murderer records the sadistic murder of a prostitute while wearing the gear to record the memories. He receives future data-discs and the subsequent investigation draws Nero, his ex-girlfriend (Lewis), a former LAPD colleague (Tom Sizemore), and his best friend (Angela Bassett) into a conspiracy which threatens to cause further racial tension and rioting in a city that is already on the brink of anarchy.
While the movie has traditionally been compared to Blade Runner, it offers it’s dystopian vision using different tools. The story telling is more linear and a bit less esoteric once the concept of memory encoding is understood. Music is an active part of the story telling, the violence is more pervasive and forward, and the action is faster and more direct. In essence, it’s grittiness over style in telling it’s tale.
Strange Days still plays well despite it being an almost 20 year old Science Fiction film. There are not many science fiction movies that are seemingly current (in-movie dates aside) after such a long period of time. Even the music is still a viable part of the movie, which is remarkable given the 1995 music scene. Acting and direction are all top-notch, although Lewis goes a bit heavy on both the nudity and ditziness.
Strange Days is currently streaming on Netflix.