Strange Days

Strange Days is a futuristic noir about apocalyptic L.A. during the last two nights of the century.

Painting America as a society whose primary responses to anarchy are voyeurism and escapism, this morality tale concerns the redemption of Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), a black-market dealer in “playback,” a technology that lets one person feel another person’s experience (witnessing murder, committing rape).

Caught in murder, race riots, and partying, Lenny, “the Santa Claus of the subconscious,” undergoes a moral crisis and is forced to sort through the squalor of secondhand experiences, a failed romance with a rock singer and true feelings for Mace (Angela Bassett), the only person of integrity in an otherwise corrupt world.

In one of the film’s scariest moments, a woman is forced to wear a camera that will photograph her rape and also will enable others to experience the rape while it is happening.

In her effort to capture the millennium’s hallucinatory mood, Bigelow stages the finale as a huge dazzling riot inspired by Woodstock, Altamont, and Lollapalooza all in one.

However, the eruption of color, sound and motion–the panorama of orchestrated chaos–didn’t fool discerning critics and viewers, who couldn’t help but notice again the great divide between a simplistic plot and technical sophistication.