Strange days.  Best cyberpunk sci-fi ever?

Cyberpunk, on the other hand, avoids a very clear assessment. Change is inevitable, and can be resisted, but keeping up with the times (and technology) is in all of our interests. The hero of Strange Days, Lenny Nero (a surprisingly casual Ralph Fiennes), accepts the reality he lives in, and even finds himself in it very well. This ex-cop is selling the forbidden fruit of SQUID recordings – a record of memories and emotions extracted from the cerebral cortex. Thanks to this invention, anyone who wears the so-called Ring is able to find himself at the center of events, whether as a thief during a robbery and escaping from the police, or in the body of a teenager taking a shower. He sees, hears and feels the same as the person who signed up earlier, but he is not risking anything. This doesn't mean you can't become addicted. Lenny himself knows this all too well, unable to forget the feeling he once had with Faith (the saucy and defiant Juliette Lewis). He uploads his videos to relive his favorite moments with his ex-girlfriend.

Meanwhile, on New Year's Eve 1999, the world, and specifically Los Angeles, looks like a war zone. The army and police maintain order on the streets, but robberies and assaults are common in most areas. Rapper and voice of the people Jericho One (Glenn Plummer) calls for open battle against the oppressor in the form of the LAPD. So when he is shot dead, allegedly by gang members, many people surrender and others go crazy. If the public finds out who is really behind his execution, there will be no end to the bloody riots. Lenny himself is not particularly concerned about the situation, but the ground begins to burn under his feet when he becomes the target of an attack by two angry policemen (Vincent D'Onofrio and William Fichtner) and a masked psychopath who records the murders he has committed.

Kathryn Bigelow, who won two Academy Awards for “The Hurt Locker: Trapped in War,” is one of the purest and best cyberpunk films ever made. The events take place in the very near future (the film was made in 1995), and the futuristic element is SQUID technology, thanks to which the world presented in it seems close and distant at the same time. Los Angeles is a huge garbage dump where there seems to be no room for everyone. The social mood is bad, police brutality takes its toll, jobs are hard to come by, and there is an almost apocalyptic atmosphere of waiting for a new and different Year 2000. There are those who predict doom and those who are not particularly concerned about the beginning of the century. For Bigelow, this moment serves more than just clarification. It is rather a summary of what the 20th century and the 1990s in particular left behind – an awareness of an end, not necessarily a new beginning.

Strange days

No wonder they are also heroes of cinema history Strange days They seem completely uninterested in the future. In Lenny's case, SQUID allows him to live in the past, and he's still in a relationship with Faith, even if she's been telling him it's all over for a long time. The girl prefers to focus on her music career under the wing of producer Philo Gant (as always Michael Wincott), who has become even more addicted to forbidden technology than Nero, pushing him to the brink of paranoia. Lenny's friend Max (a one-dimensional Tom Sizemore), also an ex-cop, seems like a bad guy, but he works as a private investigator – he tracks people down because that's all he can do. There's also Mace (the statuesque Angela Bassett), the main character's loyal friend and the only person in this crazy world who has too much to lose to want to fall like them. She and Lenny make a mismatched pair – he gets into trouble only for her to get him out of it.

Movie script Strange days By James Cameron i Jaya Koksa Besides the crime mystery and contemplation of the end of the twentieth century, it touches on something else, a certain truth about the power of the image. SQUID is advertised as an invention that allows you to experience what the person who recorded it experienced (a beautiful scene when Lenny gives his paralyzed friend a recording of a man running on the beach). Voyeuristic tendencies are one thing, but the awareness of remaining unpunished reminds us of another invention – cinema. While watching the movie, we will not feel what the characters feel, but the image and sound themselves play their role. So the futurism of strange days comes from prediction, The next step towards a more complete perception of a cinematic work, as well as any other audiovisual work, will be to engage other senses, not just sight and hearing. We already have 4D and 5D cinemas. What then?

Strange days

But Bigelow is too self-conscious a director to trust the future. That's why “strange days” are possible Feel And without additional bells and whistles – it is a masterpiece of the highest quality, from the opening scene of the store robbery, during which we observe the failed robbery from the perspective of one of the robbers. We are in the middle of the action, not only during the crazy action scenes, but also when we wait through the eyes of a psychopathic killer for the victim, whom we later kill. I write in the first person plural to show that the author of “On the Wave” is not afraid to show the threats that also arise from the cinema she makes. We are participants in history through the act of seeing, even if we do not have the capacity to act, like Lenny Nero.

It is no coincidence that Bigelow is considered the author of stunning and extremely brutal male cinema. “Strange Days” is given a lively boost thanks to quick editing – in which Cameron himself had a hand – And great camera work, but also because the director extracts everything he can from the scene and the characters. He has great control over the crowd, which is wild when he fights and when he has fun. It showcases the action scenes better, both from a first-person perspective and from a “traditional” perspective. Even the music helps – the score by Graeme Revell is strong and expressive, but the songs, which represent the essence of the 90s (lots of guitar playing, grunge, rap, ambient), fit perfectly into the created world, not allowing you to think about them until after the show.

Strange days

But the screen is owned by Fiennes and Bassett. His Lenny gives the impression of being a stronger person than he actually is, eliciting sympathy but also admiration – there is something of the knight who has forgotten what he is fighting for in his situation. After “Wuthering Heights”, “Schindler's List” and “Quiz Show”, it was good to see another Fiennes, more lively and heroic. Mace, on the other hand, is a warrior whose physical prowess and ability to handle extreme situations puts her higher up on the food chain. Looking at Angela Bassett, it is easy to believe in her strength and determination. A typical Cameroonian heroine, in the spirit of Sarah Connor from “Terminator 2” and Ripley from “Alien”. However, she also carries more pain and regret than she would like to admit. Aside from the criminal plot, they both have their own story to tell.

Now considered a cult work (although I still consider it relatively unknown), Strange Days was lost on its opening day. The film turned out to be a financial failure, with critics torn between its evocative vision of the near future and its flawless execution, and the brutal action cinema surpassing its ambitious starting point. But the questions raised by Cameron, Cox, and Bigelow still linger in the film, apart from making the whole movie more entertaining. The year 2000 has been some time ago, but it still feels like we haven't moved much since 1995. We can still look at the world of Bigelow's work as something yet to come.

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