Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Strange Days

 

Strange Days is quite possibly one of my favorite movies of the mid-late 1990s. This is easily one of my favorite futuristic/sci-fi films.

Based on a story by James Cameron, the central premise revolves involves squid discs – a contraband technology that allow people to live the lives of others or to relive memories from their own lives. This technology is a main device through which the plot unwinds.

On an emotional level we see our protagonists deal with their pasts, pasts that obviously are affecting them in the here and now, as the city of Los angeles is on the precipice of a new millennium. This is also played against the backdrop of There are a  political subtext (involving police brutality/murder).

Directed by the awesome, Academy-Award Winning Kathryn Bigelow this is sort of a huge deal – an action-packed sci-fi motion picture directed by a woman.

That can account for the reason that the women characters, particularly the role of Juliette Lewis is troubled and far from perfect – she is a well-rounded person.

Granted the the climatic scene featuring Angela Bassett and the police officers is a bit OTT for some, it is still a well executed story.

And I have not even mentioned Ralph Fiennes yet – he definitely has the schlubby down on his luck (and life) persona captured. I can even forgive his slightly dodgy American accent.

Comments

  1. Jack Deth says:

    Hi, iluv and company:

    Excellent choice for an overlooked film!

    Kathryn Bigelow popped up on my radar early on with her Vampire Family from Hell in the Contemporary West, ‘After Dark’.

    A wonderful, low budget scare-fest that showed that Ms. Bigelow had the chops for something much bigger and meatier.

    ‘Strange Days’ fills the bill! With a cast of then up and comers gleefully tearing the wrapping off their Christmas Present roles. Ralph Fiennes is nearly unrecognizable as Lenny, flying his shabby anti-hero flag high.

    The lion’s share of the story and back story are handled flawlessly by psycho cop Vincent D’Onfrio, his still kinda by the book partner, William Fitchner and Glenn Plummer’s Jeriko One.

    Offset with superb bad guy, Michael Wincott, a slimy Tom Sizemore, bravura Angela Bassett all circling around an appropriately scuzzy, yet desirable Juliette Lewis.

    A film that may leave some scratching their heads after an initial viewing.
    Trust me. ‘Strange Days’ deserves more than one shot and improves with age. As more clues are revealed and gaps filled in with each additional viewing.

  2. Jack Deth says:

    Oops. Should be ‘Near Dark’.

  3. Okay, I am going to try yet again to sit and watch this movie. Only because you say it’s one of your all-time favorites. I am willing to be swayed. 🙂

  4. I have difficulty, when watching this movie, not just letting everything around Angela Bassett fade into the deep, unfocused background.

  5. yeah! I am back from my travels … thanks for the comments guys!

  6. Such a great film and for me absolutely Bigelow’s best!

    Fiennes obviously makes this film even more great, he’s phenomenal and often underrated, sometimes overrated. Weird in that way.

  7. Thanks for the reminder, Luv, I’ve been wanting to see this one and reading this post finally got me to put this movie on my Netflix queue. I like Ralph and Angela Basset, I often wish it had been her who’s cast as Storm in those X-Men movies instead of Halle Berry.

  8. Jack Deth says:

    Hi, Ruth and iluv:

    Count me in!

    Excellent point regarding Angela Bassett instead of Halle Berry as Storm in ‘X-Men’. Halle Berry has always struck me as a mediocre talent, one-trick pony with incredible luck.

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