Last weekend we watched Moon, sci fi how it used to be. This weekend, I’m recommending something a little left field as well, the genre of cyberpunk. Best classed as stories that explore mans interface with machine, the Matrix is perhaps the most well known of the cyberpunk film genre (although Bladerunner is arguably the greatest).
Strange Days is a little known action thriller released in the mid 90s by Kathyn Bigelow, the director who also gave us Hurt Locker. Starring Ralph Fiennes at his most down and out grungy, it also sees Angela Bassett showing the sort of kick ass that would have made her a perfect Storm in X-Men.
Premise; Lenny is an ex cop turned street hustler, dealing in a technology that lets you experience recorded memories as if you were that person. Things turn bad though, when Lenny comes into possession of an eyewitness memory of something that could change the world if it was released.
The film is set in a Los Angeles ready to explode with civil unrest and police brutality. The films climax pushes towards the year 2000, and it’s perhaps this gritty, uneasy setting and the whole ‘end of the world’ feeling that really grabbed me about this film. There’s a tension towards the end of the film that is almost unbearable, because of the fact we are heading into the close of the century.
Everyone expected that with the year 2000 something big was going to happen. The cool thing about this film is that this film plays on it in the most cruel ways. In the closing few scenes of the film, you can feel the world almost ready to explode. And you don’t know which way its going to go.
I mentioned Angela Bassett played a kick ass character in this film. This was before X-Men was released, and Bassett was rumored to play Storm. Pity she didn’t, because this film showed she had the nails to pull the roll off a lot better than the simpy-soft Halle Berry (sorry, girl). She’s a cutting edge in a film that portrays its setting like it’s main actor, grungy, down and out, ready to give up on everything.
Check out this trailer for a taste of what the films about, and probably avoid checking the Wikipedia entry. The thing is this film works on its secrets and it’s slow reveal. The characters click and interact wonderfully, and its a hell of ride to the end of the world.