Though he had already performed in such films as "Quiz Show" and "Schindler's List," Ralph Fiennes was still working on establishing himself as a household name back in 1995 when "Strange Days" was released. An intense thriller with some unique aspects, this is one of Fiennes' best movies, and one of his scruffiest roles.
Fiennes stars as Lenny Nero, a street hustler who specializes in virtual reality machines that tap directly into your brain and feed you other people's recorded memories. On the eve of the millennium (2000), the machines have been abolished as they tap into the darkest of human behavior, often depicting porn, violence and crime. But when one of Lenny's friends winds up dead and he witnesses the memory of a rapist-murderer, he begins to realize just how dangerous the world is. He soon uncovers a conspiracy that could bring the city to its knees.
"Strange Days" is one of those movies I'd been wanting to see for years for no apparent reason. I knew nothing about it, but kept hearing about it, and now... I've finally seen it. Thanks to a little thing called TiVo, my little magic machine managed to pull this film off some remote channel for my viewing pleasure. "Strange Days" features an intricate plot, some exciting moments and a dark world full of entertainment. Fiennes is good in one of his few mainstream roles; he doesn't quite excel to action star, but comes pretty close. Bassett kicks ass as his female companion even if she does tend to lay the drama on a bit much near the end. Other supporting cast members include Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore and Vincent D'Onofrio.
I was expecting the movie to tie in the virtual reality machines a bit more near the end, but it instead goes the traditional route and features a shootout and other excitement. While something a little more original would have capped off this intriguing film, the ending is still very well done and fairly satisfying.
All in all, "Strange Days" is one of the better films to come from 1995 and it's pretty surprising it's so overlooked, as it offers action, plot and acting all rolled into one. This is a definitely a "can't miss."
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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