Strange Days

January 1, 2000

Strange DaysWikipedia | Strange Days is a 1995 cyberpunk science fiction film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and produced and co-written by James Cameron and Jay Cocks, starring Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott and Vincent D’Onofrio.

In December 1999, Los Angeles has become a nightmare with heightened police tensions and civil unrest, stemming largely from the brutal murder of Jeriko One (Glenn Plummer), a hip-hop artist strongly critical of the LAPD’s pervasive brutality. In the last days of the millennium, former police detective turned street hustler Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) deals in ‘SQUID’ recordings: experiences recorded directly from the cerebral cortex which when played back through a MiniDisc-like device allow a user to experience all recorded sensory inputs as if actually doing it themselves. Despite his charming and suave veneer, Lenny is a deeply unhappy man who constantly yearns for his ex-girlfriend Faith (Juliette Lewis), repeatedly reliving their happier times through his own SQUID recordings of her, while relying on his bodyguard friend Lornette “Mace” Mason (Angela Bassett) for emotional support. Lenny is also friends with Max (Tom Sizemore), a former police officer injured in the line of duty who now works as a private investigator.

While dealing erotic SQUID recordings, Lenny receives a “black jack” (snuff) disc portraying the excruciating rape and murder of Iris (Brigitte Bako), a prostitute he is acquainted with and who met with him hours before her death. Deeply troubled by both the tape and warnings Iris had made about Faith’s safety (the two having been friends), and convinced that the killer will strike again, Lenny immediately overreacts using his paranoia as an excuse to try to get Faith away from her new boyfriend, music industry mogul Philo Gant (Michael Wincott).

Over time Lenny receives more snuff tapes, clearly made by the same person as the original recording, and he and Mace eventually discover that the case is tied to a cover-up of the murder of Jeriko One by two LAPD officers sick of the trouble his message is causing. As they are hunted by the two police officers (Vincent D’Onofrio and William Fichtner) that committed the murder and constantly repelled by Philo’s goons, Lenny and Mace find themselves in a race to uncover the full truth before the dirty cops catch up with them, while simultaneously playing cat-and-mouse with Iris’s killer, and before civil war descends on Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Lenny and Mace’s relationship begins to deepen and intensify as he finds out the truth about Faith, while trying to protect her. The film’s climax occurs during the turn of the millennium celebrations (midnight of 12/31/99).