Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Obscure movies I love, pt. 6: Strange Days

It's been forever since I've done an "Obscure movies I love" post. Strange Days is obscure in the sense that it was a bomb at the box office, and not many people remember it. Basically, if you weren't into all things "cyberpunk" back in the 90's, you probably don't remember this movie.

The plot is a little cheesy, and suffers from overly-speculative-future syndrome - it depicts a 1999 L.A. racked by chaos, crime, and rioting, as well as  featuring at its center a technology that still hasn't come to exist over a decade later.

That technology is SQUID, a method for recording experiences so that someone else can experience them later - immersing themselves in the sight, hearing, touch, taste, and scent of the recorder. In the movie, it results in addiction for those who come to prefer living vicariously through others. The recordings are outlawed, and a black market is created. The main character is both an addict and a dealer in this black market.

The movie was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who later won a Best Director Oscar for "The Hurt Locker". You may also know some of her other movies, such as "K-19: The Widowmaker" (a.k.a. Harrison Ford's flagging career) and a little film called "Point Break".

"Strange Days" was co-written by James Cameron, who won Oscars later for "Titanic", proving that it doesn't have to be a good movie to win an Oscar. "Strange Days" also stars Ralph Fiennes, who has been nominated twice for Oscars.

I'm not going to claim this movie is good. It's a bit cheesy, and the futurism is well-dated now, but the grittiness and cool factor make for enjoyable viewing if you aren't too critical. And if you like cyberpunk.

Previously on The Inexcusable:
Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 5: Split Second
Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 4: Laurel Canyon
Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 3: the Jason Priestley double-feature
Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 2: A Shock to the System
Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 1: Diggstown