Strange Days (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Strange Days (1995)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This epic thriller is set in a hellish Los Angeles during the last days of the 20th century. The tale centers on Lenny Nero, a sleazy grifter who sells voyeuristic scenes. After his lover Faith leaves him, he tries to win her back after learning that she is in danger.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Jay Cocks, James Cameron, Philip Pfeiffer
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 7, 1999
Runtime:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Cast

Ralph Fiennes
as Lenny Nero
Angela Bassett
as Mace Mason
Juliette Lewis
as Faith Justin
Tom Sizemore
as Max Peltier
Michael Wincott
as Philo Gant
Vincent D'Onofrio
as Burton Steckler
Glenn Plummer
as Jeriko One
William Fichtner
as Dwayne Engelman
Josef Sommer
as Palmer Strickland
Joe Urla
as Keith
Nicky Katt
as Joey Corto
Michael Jace
as Wade Beemer
Louise LeCavalier
as Cindy `Vita' Minh
Jim Ishida
as Mr. Fumitsu
Todd Graff
as Tex Arcana
Paolo Tocha
as Spaz Diaz
Ron Young
as Nervous POV
Anais Munoz
as Diamanda
Ted Haler
as Tow Truck Driver
Rio Hackford
as Bobby the Bartender
B.J. Crockett
as Young Zander
Paulo Tocha
as Spaz Diaz
James Muro
as Nervous POV
Art Chudabala
as Thai Restaurant Owne...
Erica Kelly
as Restaurant Hostess
Marlana Young
as Waitress
Ray Chang
as Thai Restaurant Cook
Chris Douridas
as Talk Radio Host
Billy Worley
as Dan from Silverlake
Amon Bourne
as Dewayne
Lisa Picotte
as Lori from Encino
Kylie Ireland
as Stoned Looking Girl
Kelly Hu
as Anchor Woman
Nynno Anderson
as Angry Jeriko Fan
Liat Goodson
as Retinal Fetish Bounc...
Honey Labrador
as Beach Beauty
Delane Vaughn
as Mace's Husband
Mark Arneson
as Police Officer
James Acheson
as Cop in Bathroom
Zoot
as Mime
Royce Minor
as Angry Black Kid
Milan Reynolds
as National Guard Medic...
Russell W. Smith
as National Guard No. 2
Russell Hines
as African Dancer
Michael Jaasi
as African Dancer
Maurice Marshall
as African Dancer
Jin-Jin Reeves
as African Dancer
Reginald T. Thornton
as African Dancer
Chester A. Whitmore
as African Dancer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Strange Days

Critic Reviews for Strange Days

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (11)

Director Kathryn Bigelow comes closer than any other filmmaker to turning movies into a virtual reality trip.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Newsweek
Top Critic

Once the premise has lost its promise, and Fiennes's brave attempts at characterization are sacrificed to pseudo-dazzle, everything appears awfully humdrum and, yes, distinctly dated.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Undeniably thrilling and troubling.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Though the creators of Strange Days may well be interested in its dramatic and thematic elements, they do not have the same touch for these moments as they do for camera pyrotechnics.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Bigelow is so enamored of high-tech thrills, and so mesmerized by the violence she seeks to condemn, that her efforts at 11th-hour moralizing seem limp and halfhearted.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's fascinating the way Bigelow is able to suggest so much of VR's impact (and dangers) within a movie - a form of VR that's a century old.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Strange Days

One of my all time favorite sci fi flicks. Fiennes is awesome in this role. This movie feels so much like a possible future.

jmanard52
John Manard

Super Reviewer

½

Strange Days is an intense and thought-provoking cyberpunk sci-fi murder mystery thriller co-written by James Cameron and former film critic Jay Cocks, and directed by Cameron's ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow.

Set in Los Angeles two days before the year 2000, we follow Lenny Nero, an ex-cop turned black marketeer whose product of choice to peddle is a SQUID- a headpiece that allows one to transmit digital recordings of other people's thoughts, feelings, and memories directly into their brain. He sells both the discs, and the equipment. Sex and violence/crime are the primary subjects of request, though Lenny's one rule is that he doesn't deal in "blackjacks" or snuff clips.

When not doing his SQUID dealings, Lenny spends his time pining for Faith- his punk rocker ex-girlfriend who is now involved with a shady record executive named Philo Gant. This subplot then gets connected to the rest of the film when Lenny, after receiving a snuff clip of the rape and murder of a mutual friend of his and Faith's, gets embroiled in the resulting murder mystery, which is in turn connected to the recent death of a rapper/social activist on Gant's label.

This all sounds really convoluted and complex, but it's actually not. It's mostly just really difficult to try to easily explain without giving too much away, which I sort of already did to an extent. But not too much.

Anyways, this is a really intense and thrilling film. The basic ideas of the technology are apparently cribbed from the film Brainstorm which I have yet to see, but want to. I'm not sure how much of an input Cocks had here, but it may not have been much as Cameron also gets a 'story by' credit here. Another fun thing is to try to distinguish Cameron's style from Bigelow's. Sometimes this is really hard, but it adds another level of enjoyment to the proceedings.

The film pulls no punches when it comes to the dark and gritty subject matter and content, but mature and open minded viewers will probably find a lot to enjoy here. It's all done quite well, and comes off as earned as opposed to exploitative (and for the sake of it).

From a technical perspective, this film is a marvel. There SQUID sequences are appropriately done as POV, often times as long takes/tracking shots. The opening scene especially is quite impressive and effective. Cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti needs a friggin' medal or something.

The performances are also pretty stellar. Ralph Fiennes is tremendous as the sleazy, yet rather empathetic Lenny. As his close friend and bodyguard "Mace" Mason, Angela Bassett is amazing, and this is easily her at her most badass. Her performance is quite strong, and she pulls off the action scenes fairly believably, too. There's also Juliette Lewis as Faith, Michael Wincott as Philo Gant, and Tom Sizemore as an associate of Lenny's. Vincent D'Onofrio and William Fichtner also appear as two unhinged rogue cops. All of these people put in some decent work, and this film is another occasion for Lewis to show off her singing skills.

Which brings me to the music. The score is decent, but the non-score soundtrack is where I was really pleased. There's tons of hip hop and heavy metal, and they perfectly complement the grungy/punk aesthetics of the world building, art direction, and set design.

All in all, this is quite an amazing film. It's more than solid, though I will say that it does run on for perhaps a tad too long, and the basic plot, though decent, is unoriginal. I mean, as I mentioned, it's basically just a really dressed up murder mystery. It's still pretty great though, so I highly recommend it.

cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

I think this really stands out as the greatest example of 90s mindset action/sci-fi. In look and story structure, it has all the elements of the time period crushed together into one extravaganza of gunfire and chaos. It's still funny how believable Ralph Fiennes is as a good guy, you'd just never expect it going in. You've also got Juliette Lewis walking around naked for pretty much the entire running time, so even if you don't like the movie there's a treat for you. One of its other standout contributors is the incredibly under-appreciated villain of the 90s, Michael Wincott. This movie really does have a lot to say about the future of society and pop culture, but it does so in a way that doesn't come off as heavy handed. While it has the shortcomings of being almost too 90s for its own good, the majority of this movie is just amazing. After seeing it a few times, even the not-so-lovable elements seem to disappear.

ythelastman89
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

Strange Days Quotes

Lenny Nero: This is not like "TV-only-better" ... this is life.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)
Max Peltier: Cheer up. The world's about to end in ten minutes anyway.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)
Max Peltier: The issue's not whether you're paranoid, Lenny, I mean look at this shit, the issue is whether you're paranoid enough.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)
Lornette "Mace" Mason: Memories are meant to fade. They're designed that way for a reason.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)

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