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Strange Days

At 2 hours and 25 minutes, I always thought Strange Days was going to have an uphill battle with my attention span. Now because I hate long movies, but I wondered to myself is a film like this deserved to be that long. I'm still on the fence about it because I feel like there are plenty of scenes to cut to make the film a leaner cyberpunk crime thriller, but then you lose the world-building that Cameron, as the writer and Bigelow as the director seems to fight for.

Strange Days had me perplexed. I had no idea what this movie was about other than set in the future and on New Year's Eve. Well, that's kind of right considering the film came out in 1995. There is so much more going on in this movie that watching it in current times is crazy to witness. Police brutality, racial discrimination, and voyeurism are just a few things on this film's mind. Hidden behind a thin sci-fi layer regarding the recording of memories and emotions to sell on the black market. A great sci-fi idea that turns sour when our lead character witnesses a recording of a rape/murder. The film then pivots to a crime-mystery hybrid in which we have to solve the who, what and why. The film blends the elements of the crime/mystery/noir with cyberpunk successfully.

Bigelow gives the film a gritty sense of realism, yet no one in this film feels normal. Everything has a heightened sense, which gives the film this otherworldly feel. I felt like I could have lived in this world and the tech presented to the viewer could very much be real. The look and feel of the film are mostly told through fashion a lot of these characters wear. Nothing feels normal here and nothing should.

Ralph Fiennes is pretty good as our lead, Lenny, but I have to give props to Angela Bassett as she kicked a lot of ass in this film and she looked damn fine doing it. From the moment she appears on the screen, you know she doesn't take sh*t from anybody. They have a tiny misstep in the final moments of the film, but everything else is pretty solid. A surprisingly large supporting cast helps flesh out this odd world of characters; Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'Onofrio, Glenn Plummer and William Fichtner stand out.

Strange Days was a lot of fun and showcased the early talents of Bigelow as a director.