Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day One: Strange Days (1995), Rank: 4/5


I felt it was only fitting to watch one of the few films centered around New Year's Eve to start my mission off. Set in a dystopian 1999 (an alternate reality where the LA riots of the mid-nineties have continued to flourish), the film is centered around former L.A. cop turned dealer Lenny Nero (executed perfectly by Ralph Fiennes). Nero deals in "squid" clips - footage recorded from the cerebrum of other individuals that produce a high in the viewer. Think "Being John Malkovich," but instead of crawling into a portal in a New York skyscraper, you just strap a device to your head and pop in a disc. Lenny's your typical down-and-out loser at life, carrying on as a meaningless dealer, until he receives a disc of the brutal rape and killing of a woman. Next thing you know, he's knee-deep in a conspiracy plot that spreads throughout the LAPD. Much of the film plays like an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel, but incredibly James Cameron came up with the storyline. The most amazing aspect about the film's production were the cameras created for the "squid" clips. To get the POV shots she wanted, Kathryn Bigelow had her crew create a 35mm camera that could actually fit into the palm of your hand (I want one) that could easily be strapped to the heads of the actors. Equally as amazing was Juliette Lewis (she plays Lenny's former flame and night-club rocker) who did all of her own vocals, adding to a soundtrack that was just as dazzling as the fictitious New Year's Eve 1999 ceremonies. Definitely a fun kickoff.

Check the trailer

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