Kathryn BigelowUSA145 minutes1995ColourEnglish
The 1992 L.A. riots and the first wave of virtual-reality hype were the inspirations for Bigelow's daring, dystopic vision of Los Angeles at the end of the millennium. Born out of a close collaboration between the director and James Cameron (who co-produced and co-wrote the script with Jay Cocks), Strange Days depicts a frenetic 48 hours in the life of Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), an ex-cop turned sleazy salesman for a VR-like technology that immerses its wearers in other people's recorded perceptions and sensations. When he stumbles upon a recording that points to a police cover-up, he gets immersed right up to his ears in trouble; luckily, Lenny has help from limo driver/bodyguard Mace (Angela Bassett), the most kick-ass character in Bigelow's oeuvre. Spurned by audiences and largely dismissed by critics (though Roger Ebert was a vocal champion of the film), Strange Days has proven to be one of the boldest and most prescient American movies of the 1990s in its vision of how new tech caters to those urges that comprise the ugliest part of humankind's core programming.