Film Scouts Reviews

"Strange Days"

by Eleanor Ringel

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STRANGE DAYS: It's New Year's Eve,1999. Do you know where your future is? Kathryn Bigelow has a pretty good idea and she spits it out in pulverizing cinematic terms in her sci-fi thriller. Set in the final forty eight hours before the century turns, she shows us L.A. as a city on fire - a roiling conflagration of racial tension, bad cops and general ill will toward men. Ralph Fiennes plays Lenny Nero, a bestubbled bottom-feeder who sells blackmarket feed-your-head tapes-tapes that allow you to emotionally and visually partake in another's experiences. He's still hooked on his faithless ex-girlfriend, Faith (Juliette Lewis) and when he's sent (anonymously) a particularly vile tape of a rape-murder that might be linked to her, he decides he must rescue her. Fortunately, his best pal, Mace (Angela Bassett), a security specialist, is on hand to rescue Lenny. The script, by Jay Cocks and James Cameron, is less interested in narrative than in creating a nightmare world in which our nation teeters on the edge of an apocalyptic abyss. And Bigelow punches out scene after scene as if her life or the movie's - depended on it. Fiennes, with his wistful romanticism and seedy decency and Bassett with her fierce sense of justice and unshakable loyalty, give the audience something to hold onto in the midst of all the on-screen sturm und drang. This is a movie that gets people talking, no matter HOW they felt about it.

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