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Strange Days

"I'm your priest. I'm your shrink. I am your main connection to the switchboard of souls. I'm the magic man. The Santa Claus of the subconscious. You say it – you even think it – you can have it."

Based on a dream James Cameron had in 1985, Strange Days came out in 1995 and strangely took place only 4 years in the future — during the 48 hours leading up to the year 2000. Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, helmed the film, bringing her skills at directing action to the forefront to create what at the time was a wild, mind-bending, noirish tale that looked at people in LA dealing with the latest “drug” craze — living other people’s experiences through futuristic recording devices. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we ring in the New Year with the first of our Kathryn Bigelow series on this week’s episode of The Next Reel in which we talk about Strange Days.

We talk about what we thought of the film at the time and compare that with how we feel about the film now, noting how much the film doesn’t hold up and how many problems it really had. We chat about the script and the vast amounts of expository dialogue and how clunky Cameron can often be when writing scripts. We discuss the performances, particularly Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Tom Sizemore, Vincent D’Onofrio and William Fichtner, and whether they were used effectively or not. We discuss the story elements that worked for us, notably the rape scene, and how effective it is yet how unfortunate it is that the team didn’t focus solely on that element rather than force it to tie into the New Year’s party story. And we praise the outstanding achievements Bigelow, DP Matthew Leonetti and their team of camera operators, stuntmen, technicians, etc. who worked hard to create — pioneer, really — the stunning work done on the POV shots throughout the film. It’s a bit of a disappointment returning to it for us, but we have a great time talking about it. Tune in!

Film Sundries

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