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Strange Days – One Hell of a Movie

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Strange Days with Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis. Written by James Cameron and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

Strange Days with Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis. Written by James Cameron and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

1999. Los Angeles. The “City of Angels” has never been more chaotic, the cops have never been so corrupt and life is more complicated than ever.

Our (anti-) hero Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) used to be a cop. Now he is a dealer who sells the “drug” of the decade: tapes of real experiences (of real people)- through a device that sends signals straight to their brain. Result? Highly addictive habit of living through other people’s moments. Everything feels real. Who needs porn when you can watch an actual couple having sex and feel every bit of it in your body too? But there is a downside. Crimes have just become more dangerous. There is a psycho out there killing-while he makes his victim watch her own death live- hence doubling the pain, shock and horror.

Lenny is obsessed with his ex Faith (Juliette Lewis), an ex-hooker/singer wannabe who’s dating a seriously bad guy (Michael Wincott).

Lenny does have someone he can count on,though. His best friend Macey (Angela Bassett). But while Lenny turned weak and miserable, Macey has turned into a kick-ass single mom who can do more than take care of herself and she gets Lenny out of trouble quite a few times. Lenny and Macey share an old bond and even though Mace doesn’t approve of Lenny’s conduct, she sets to help him out.

The movie takes exciting twists and turns as the pair needs to uncover a murder that has to do with an infamous rap singer with a huge following, sadistic cops and Faith’s boyfriend/manager who doesn’t like Lenny all that much.

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This is one of those gloriously dark movies. It takes you to all the grey areas, multi-dimensional and colorful characters and truly psychotic bad guys. But just when you think, the world is shitty and dark, it does show you love, friendship and hope exist.

The script is highly original, and to me,  it’s the best James Cameron has ever written. Forget about every other movie he wrote. Strange  Days is a strange gem. It won’t get old.

I was lucky to first see this 1996 film while I was in 1999, on New Year’s Eve, waiting for the millennium. Got to tell, you- it made it extra effective.

Ralph Fiennes is always good and he is a versatile actor. He can scare you or seduce you, make you like or hate him very easily. His character Nero is very likable character despite his flaws. He is weak and strong, he is stupid and smart…All in all, his character is entertaining and very humane.

I definitely adore Bassett’s role. She owns her scenes. The rest of the cast is also impressive with Tom Sizemore, Vincent D’Onofrio, and my favorite baddy Michael Wincott (from The Crow, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves).

The director is Kathryn Bigelow. She is very good at making adrenaline-inducing films. I also love her Point Break (starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze).

It is one of favorite movies ever. Be ready to have fun, to be disturbed and to see real action.

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4 Responses to “Strange Days – One Hell of a Movie”

  1. Patricia Rodrigues says:

    Very good. There is a lot about love and friendship, you’re right. Though there is the horrible dark side which has never make this movie one of my favourites. Ralph Fiennes is one of my favourites actor. This was one of his best interpretation. His glorious time was in Schindler’s List. And he was also great in Bernard and Doris. But, I love him most in Wuthering Heights. Angela Bassett and Michael Wincott were also great in Strange Days. Nice review, Pinar.

  2. zoey says:

    I am not really a fan of dark movies but some of them just rise above with their qualities and become even better than any type of movie:
    1) The story is gripping and original- as a writer, I appreciate that a lot. When a story makes me say I wish I could create something like that, I become a die hard fan.
    2) Actors-characters: Ralph is powerful as always and I just adore the Nero character. Somehow I never despise him even though I have never approved of hookers, for instance. Bassett just appeals to my feminist side. She isn’t the weak girl that needs to be saved- which is always refreshing. And Wincott- let him put on the long hair and be the asshole! It is his niche! : )
    3) As dark as it is, you just have to love the last scene! When Lenny gets out of the car…you know…

  3. Raynora says:

    I love this movie and all the other disutopia movies… Directors should produce more movies like that:)

  4. zoey says:

    Trust me, I couldn’t agree more. Strange Days is very high on my top 10 list, it might even be in top 5. I love the chaos, excitement and the extremity of this movie. Glad we have this one in common;)

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