Strange Days


Strange Days seems to take on a cult status with each passing year. This film came out in 1995, but is almost prophet like in its ability to summarize our current obsession with technology and experiencing artificial stimulation through computers (e.g. Wii and other interactive games). This film reminds us about the danger that comes along with our constant need for stimuli, and how it detaches us from human contact, desensitizes us to violence, and makes the abnormal seem normal.


The great thing about this film is that it came out 5 years before the year 2000 and didn't try to look to futuristic, as far as fashion, and the cars. No one was using a space craft to get around.


There are three acts in this film: the descent of Lenny into a personal living hell, which is linked with his ex-girlfriend, Faith, who he believes in, despite her penchant for self destruction. Through flashbacks, we see at one point Lenny was a decent cop. Act II is the present time, where we see the seductive nature of the SQUID and the danger is possesses, and how real feelings and emotions are downloaded and traded as a commodity. You also see this edgy undercurrent of "end time" doom felt by everyone, from the murdered rapper Jericho One, to the cops who feel that the urban undercurrent in society, is asking for a level of respect they don't deserve. Order is hanging on by a loose thread and everyone is trying to escape this reality through the use of the SQUID. Act III, is where the price is paid for murders and deception. The order is restored after chaos ensues. Lenny comes out on the other side as a restored person.


Visually, this film is very stimulating, it almost seems like overload in some parts. But this is what the director wanted us to feel, the sense of chaos and impending doom. As far as the acting, Finnes is great, but so is Tom Sizemore, Wincott, Lewis, and of course Angela Basset. She is almost like Virgil to Lenny, guiding him through a maze of hell and hoping he can see the error of his way. She is vulnerable in her love for Lenny, but makes it clear he cannot sacrifice her, or the future of the city, for Faith or the SQUID.


This film had a lot on the plate-racial tension, misuse of technology, sex without emotion, and the blur between lies and truth, which were offered up through the media images of Jericho One. He spoke the "truth" of his reality, but lived a different reality. This film spoke to the idea of media manipulation, which is very rampant in our present culture.


We finally make it to the New Year and after the riot, the truth is restored. When Lenny passes out and wakes up again, I saw that as his rebirth. He has known all the long that Mace loves him, but at the end he is ready to reciprocate that love and that is why he beats on the limo glass to get Mace out of the car. The movie ends with a lover's kiss, which reminds the audience, love is an emotion that cannot be manufactured.