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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Strange Days (1995)



Reviews and Comments

At its core, Strange Days has a fascinating premise, and it's used even more imaginatively. What if there were a media device that could record people's experiences and emotions, storing them so they could be played back at a later date? You could live someone else's experiences that way; the possibilities are staggering, and the movie plays thoroughly with the idea.

The rest of the movie, on the other hand, is a typical brooding, violent action flick, wrapped around this futuristic premise. A gritty, realistic world is created for the characters to act in, but they act in ridiculous cliches and action film ruts. There's the badguys who demand that the goodguys hand something over when they're just going to kill them anyway. There's the arch villain who explains his plan to the goodguy, intending to kill him afterwards. And if you can't guess who the arch villain turns out to be, you haven't seen many movies at all.

Despite this excess baggage, Strange Days looks, for most of its running time, like its originality and involving direction will win out. It doesn't. The final forty five minutes are brutal, anti-climactic, and more hokey than flash and style can redeem, negating the embarrassed fascination it had built up in its audience previously. The end result is an interesting (and, for better or for worse, disturbing) failure.