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Strange Days

Reviewed by Galen Strickland

It is unfortunate that Strange Days was not set further into the future. Produced in 1995, it concerns events ocurring at New Year's Eve, 1999 (this was the first reference I recall of the term Y2K). Not only is the technology at the center of the plot one that is not likely to be developed for quite some time - hopefully never - the incorporation of the millenium eve celebration into the storyline dooms this film to be disregarded by the majority of current viewers. No matter how degenerated is the lifestyle of Los Angeles, I know it is no where near the chaos depicted in this film, and Y2K hysteria is something quite ridiculous in retrospect.

Regardless of these factors, I still consider Strange Days to be an excellent film with riveting, nuanced performances from Ralph Fiennes (his best work yet, in my opinion), Angela Bassett (why is she not yet a MAJOR star?), and Tom Sizemore, just to name the principals. As with most of the best science fiction, the people are the main focus of the story, and how they and society as a whole react to changing technologies and cultural trends is more important than the technologies themselves. Aspects of the plot which are extremely relevant (and unfortunately will be for quite some time) are the undercurrents of racial tension and police brutality.

I am not going to go into any detail about this film. I recommend it highly and would not want to spoil it for any of you who have yet to see it. Although it runs frequently on either USA Network or the Sci-Fi Channel, I suggest you rent or buy the DVD. It is rated R, and contains some nudity and strong language, and some violent scenes, although not as graphic as is the general norm for action films these days.

I give it ***1/2 out of 5.

 

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Director
Kathryn Bigelow

Screenplay
James Cameron
Jay Cocks

Released
October 13, 1995

Cast
Ralph Fiennes
Angela Bassett
Tom Sizemore
Juliette Lewis
Glenn Plummer
Vincent D'Onofrio
William Fichtner

Awards
2 Saturns, Best Director & Best Actress (Angela Bassett)

Full Credits at IMDb

Available on DVD