Sunday, February 20, 2011

Film Review--Strange Days

starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Lewis, Angela Bassett, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'Onofrio, William Fichtner, Glen Plummer, and Chris Helton as The Beav.

Set in the (gasp!) future of 1999, a raggedy, down and out fence (Fiennes) deals in data disks that grant someone captured human experiences.  Things get crazy for this cop-turned-dealer when he comes upon a disk that shows the murder of a prostitute, flinging him deeper into a world of crime, blackmail, and racial politics.

I did not like this film when I first saw it in 1995.  Today, I have a greater appreciation for it.  The cyberpunk technology featured herein is becoming more and more plausible by the day.  Therefore, the types of market forces and criminal actions detailed in the film shall come in tandem with it.  An important subject for our society to take note of.
This film is not not without its problems.  The plot tends to meander, the focus on the dark side of human nature is rather unrelenting, and aspects of the ending are downright hokey.  Also, much of it is rooted in the Rodney King riots of 1992 in Los Angeles, seriously dating the narrative.  Balancing that out is the intriguing premise, the performance of Michael Wincott...a fine and menacing actor who was everywhere in the 90s and has sadly not appeared much since, and the neat allusions to the Gen-X, "slacker" worldview that is somewhat akin to Fight Club.  Not nearly in the same category as that latter film, but strains of similar undertones. 
I kept wondering, why didn't I like this more back in the day?  After all, I didn't think I could have had a bleaker view of humanity than I did fifteen years ago, but I suppose I do.  And that is why I find Strange Days all the more realistic.

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