A Weekly Educated Movie Recommendation by Shaun Smith

I think I may have finally found a movie to recommend that literally nobody that I know has either seen or heard about, and the kicker is it was made by an Oscar winning director.

Strange Days was released in 1995 to a moderate critical response and was directed by Kathryn Bigelow (the Oscar winning director I mentioned for her 2008 film The Hurt Locker).

This somewhat-futuristic sci-fi thriller takes place in Los Angeles during late December of 1999, just before the dawning of the new millennium.

In keeping with last week’s article, the film stars Ralph Fiennes as an ex-cop turned black market street dealer named Lenny Nero.

While within the black market, Nero deals what are called SQUID recordings.

SQUIDs, or Superconducting Quantum Interference Device, are devices that records memories and feelings straight from the wearer’s cerebral cortex.

The disc from the SQUID are played back in a small mini-disc looking device with an odd metal headset and puts the viewer smack dab into the recorder’s memory and thoughts.

Nero mysteriously receives a SQUID from an anonymous source and turns out to be containing the murder of a prostitute. He continues to receive more SQUIDs of killings and decides to investigate.

Nero then finds out that the prostitute’s death involved an enormous cover-up conspiracy by the LAPD.

Along the way, Nero is joined by two best friends, a female bodyguard played by Angela Bassett and a private investigator played by Tom Sizemore in a ridiculous blonde wig.

Nero and Bassett’s character begin to uncover the conspiracy of the murder/rape SQUIDs while at the same time being hunted down by two policemen played by Vincent D’Onofrio and William Fichtner.

Even though the story is set in 1999, the technology in the film far surpasses by expectations I would have had back in the mid-90s while making the film.

By 1995 we had barely been introduced to the CD while near the decline of the cassette tape. Do you really think within five years time there would be a device that records from a person’s cerebral cortex, on a mini-disc no less?

Strange Days feels like it’s trying to be a 90s version of the classic sci-fi noir Blade Runner.

Very high shoes to fill, I know, but Bigelow does a great job creating an atmospheric feel to the film and making us believe this world exists.

Now here’s some little known trivia about the director Kathryn Bigelow as well as the Strange Days film.

Bigelow was married to the famous director James Cameron, creator of The Terminator, Titanic and Avatar, for a brief period from 1989 till 1991.

I mention this because Cameron actually produced Strange Days as well as co-wrote the screenplay with Jay Cocks (a frequent writer for Martin Scorsese films).

Cameron was also the editor for Strange Days but was forced to take his name off the project due to the fact he was not part of the editor’s union (He instead credited himself as Howard E. Smith).

The fact that Cameron agreed to edit, produce and co-write his ex-wife’s film blows my mind.

Many credit Cameron for creating a large chunk of the futuristic aspects of the film but it’s pretty apparent that Bigelow’s touch is all over this film.

Bigelow has been known for directing action and creating tense scenes, both of which can be found here.

Even though the film does have some flaws, the performances by Fiennes and Bassett as well as the overall looks and feel of the film really makes this one worth watching.

I would recommend Strange Days to sci-fi fans that are looking for something different to see, and more than likely they haven’t seen this one (Even though some consider the film to now be cult status).

Did I mention I barely know anyone who knows about this movie?

I guess I need to start mentioning X-Box 720 or E3 to get some more views (Wink).

  1. greenmachinegamer says:

    Reblogged this on Gameternity.

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