For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Cyberpunk Films, here’s a review of Strange Days (1995) by Reut of Moody Moppet
Thanks again to Becky of Film Music Central for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Catherine of Thoughts All Sorts. We will be reviewing our favorite Westerns set in the “old West” – so, that excludes Contemporary Westerns i.e. No Country for Old Men, Hud, Desperado, Junior Bonner etc.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Jan by sending them to email@example.com
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Catherine!
Let’s see what Reut thought of this movie:
Cool movie, cool casting, cool setting, cool story, COOL!
First, welcome to MovieRob’s and Becky of Film Music Central’s Cyberpunk December GG.
Great genre and most diverse as well. I think, my favorite so far J
Set in the last 2 days of 1999. The city of L.A. is a disturbing war zone, fueled with fury, smoke, and riots. Ex-LAPD cop Lenny (Ralph Fiennes) has very much deteriorated to trafficking SQUID cd’s (a MiniDisc-like device that allows a user to experience the recorder’s memories and physical sensations) and pining after his ex, Faith (Juliette Lewis), a sexy rock singer now dating sleazy music industrialist, Philo Gant. Iris, a prostitute, and Faith’s friend drops a cd into Lenny’s car when that gets towed before Lenny gets to see the cd. Taken by his best friend and bodyguard, Mace (Angela Bassett) to a nightclub where Faith performs, Lenny gets another cd from an unknown that contains the brutal rape and murder of Iris. Investigating this further with the help of Mace and Max (Tom Sizemore), Lenny is caught up in a dark conspiracy.
Strange Days is where I fell deeper in love with Juliette Lewis, drooled over Ralph Fiennes’ Lenny, and adored Angela Bassett’s strong femininity. I watched this one years ago for the first time, followed by zillion more times just because of that one scene when Faith sings “Can Hardly Wait” which I poorly tried to imitate numerous times. She’s definitely the girl crush of my teens. It’s a movie that inhabits urban turmoil and virtual reality perfectly – An apocalyptic L.A., corrupted cops, freaky looking crimes, weird fetishes, racism and what not. The story goes deeper and more violent as you go along, climaxing to a surprising and very clever ending.
Lenny is an unusual character for Ralph Fiennes, I feel, but very fitting indeed. A grungy melancholic American ex-cop flushed down to illegal shit and pathetically covets his ex without her giving a shit. But he does it ever so greatly and looks hot and super convincing when playing with his bizarre SQUID device. His best friend is Mace, played by Angela Bassett. Mace is a strong and maternal figure that kicks ass and controls her firearms like a fucking pro. She shelters her deep feeling for Lenny under an armor of toughness and anger, especially when he babbles about Faith. She’s that perfect contradiction to confused Faith and submissive Iris, not controlled by any male figure. Her relationship with Lenny goes way back and is well grounded on care and trust. It’s the core of the movie and you keep anticipating that Lenny will just come to his senses.
Strange Days is a beautiful intersection between sci-fi, romance, action and thriller written by James Cameron and Jay Cocks and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who’s also behind the hot surfer action Point Break (1991).
Cast wise, Bigelow knew what she was doing. Apart from my Juliette, Fiennes, Sizemore, and Bassett, you can see great performances from Michael Wincott as Philo Gant, Brigitte Bako as Iris, Richard Edson as Tick and Vincent D’Onofrio as a corrupt cop.
The music that follows Strange Days is superb. Artists like The Doors, Marylin Manson, Tricky, Skunk Anansie, Juliette Lewis performing PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me”, Leonard Cohen and much more. There’s no watching a dystopian movie without hardcore music to follow it. The experience just wouldn’t be the same.