Thursday, September 25, 2008

Movies: Strange Days

"Strange Days" is a film directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Most reviewers seem to classify it as a cyberpunk sci-fi flick, and, in all fairness, there are some of the standard tropes - a dystopian near-future worldview (complete with police brutality and widespread social unrest), a new technology that allows users to experience episodes from other people's lives, and a black market for said technology:



In my view, though, "Strange Days" is more like neo-noir or cyberpunk-lite than anything else. Aside from the POV segments (which feel more like a low-rent imitation of a video camera than anything else), the film doesn't have any overt science-fiction in it at all - no flying cars, no rogue AIs, no worldwide computer network.

It's a decent movie, with strong performances from Ralph Fiennes (who plays a cop-turned-hustler named Lenny) and Angela Bassett (who plays a tough-as-nails single mother/bodyguard called Lornette "Mace" Mason). The pair become embroiled in a series of murders that threaten to destroy LA on the eve of the new millennium. I'd probably score it a bit higher if the editing was tighter - the 2 hour 15 minute runtime feels gratuitous (do we really need to see Juliette Lewis singing onstage twice?).

Rating: 7/10

3 Comments:

At 11:38 PM, Blogger Made in DNA said...

Personally I thought Strange Days was brilliant. 10 out of 10. There wasn't a thing about it I didn't like. JL on stage was fantastic (the music as a whole was fantastic!). Most of all, it's a no-holds barred look at how ugly America can really be/is. I'll agree with you 100% on the neo-noir or future-noir angle though, because it's not cyberpunk. I am curious though, what's wrong with the editing and 'shots'? I'm not sure I follow. I liked the look of it all -- gritty and paranoid.

 
At 12:59 AM, Blogger Mulliga said...

The look of the film was fine - I just thought the movie itself had too much stuff in it.

These ratings are pretty subjective, and I still liked the movie overall, though not as much as some of Bigelow's other works.

 
At 5:02 AM, Blogger Made in DNA said...

YO! Looks like I misread a little of what you were saying about the camera shots. Apologies. OH, I completely understand you like the movie. You gave a decent rating of 7. If you didn't, I'm sure it would be much lower. Anyway, as they say, you can't please everyone all of the time, right? =) Great review. Thanks for replying. Will keep an eye on your blog. ;)

 

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