Sunday, March 22, 2015

Strange Days

Movie Name: Strange Days
Year of Release: 1995
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'Onofrio, Glenn Plummer, Brigitte Bako, Richard Edson, William Fichtner, Josef Sommer, Nicky Katt, Michael Jace, Joe Urla
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Celebrated director Kathryn Bigelow's "Strange Days" premiered in 1995, to a mostly muted response, and followed her successful previous feature, "Point Break". The film took place in the near future, 1999, the end of the millennium, and focused on Lenny Nero, a former police officer, now dealing with shady technology, specifically discs and devices that allow people to experience whatever is recorded on those same discs. Lenny comes across a disc that showcases the murder of a prostitute he knows, which leads him to find out a bigger conspiracy involving the LA Police Department, and a racially charged situation that threatens to destroy the entire city. In parallel he's trying to pursue his former lover Faith, now a well known singer, who also finds herself involved in this situation. 
Kathryn Bigelow has made a career thus far always filled with interesting stories, where her central characters are thrown into situations that they're unfamiliar with, and with their resources and skill, manage to overcome these odds. "Strange Days" features a screenplay from James Cameron, and the film manages to have multiple layers that start peeling away, the further the story develops. The suspense builds successfully, as the story evolves from a murder investigation, to a much larger scope, which deals with a lot of the concerns and problems that affected LA 20 years ago. Kathryn Bigelow interweaves these components, mixing media, and smartly editing the film to give the sense of urgency, desperation and also joy the characters go through. The film is an effective lesson in how to make a deft and intelligent action feature. Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Lewis create memorable characters, and the film also features a fantastic score from Graeme Revell and a stunning cinematography work from Matthew F. Leonetti. An underrated and fantastic film from a very interesting director.