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Strange Days
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Produced by James Cameron
Steven-Charles Jaffe
Written by James Cameron
Jay Cocks
Starring Ralph Fiennes
Angela Bassett
Juliette Lewis
Tom Sizemore
Michael Wincott
Vincent D'Onofrio
William Fichtner
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Editing by James Cameron
Howard E. Smith
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Lightstorm Entertainment
Release date(s) October 13, 1995
Running time 145 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $42,000,000
Gross revenue $7,919,000

Strange Days is a 1995 cyberpunk[1] 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.


Plot summary

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 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 murderer catches up with them, 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.

Cast list


  1. Skunk Anansie – "Selling Jesus"
  2. Lords of Acid – "The Real Thing"
  3. Tricky – "Overcome"
  4. Deep Forest – "Coral Lounge"
  5. Strange Fruit – "No White Clouds"
  6. Juliette Lewis – "Hardly Wait"
  7. Me Phi Me/Jeriko One – "Here We Come"
  8. Skunk Anansie – "Feed"
  9. Prong/Ray Manzarek – "Strange Days"
  10. Satchel – "Walk In Freedom"
  11. Kate Gibson – "Dance Me to the End of Love"
  12. Lori Carson/Graeme Revell – "Fall in the Light"
  13. Deep Forest feat. Peter Gabriel – "While the Earth Sleeps"


Strange Days was given a limited release on October 6, 1995 in only one theater and grossed $31,062 on its opening weekend. It was given a wide release on October 13, 1995 in 1,691 theaters and grossed $3.6 million on its opening weekend. The film went on to make $7.9 million in North America.[2]

Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and wrote, "The movie is a technical tour de force ... The pacing is relentless, and the editing, by Howard Smith, creates an urgency and desperation".[3] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised the performances of Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett: "Mr. Fiennes gleefully captures Lenny's sleaziness while also showing there is something about this schlockmeister that is worth saving, despite much evidence to the contrary. As for Ms. Bassett, she looks great and radiates inner strength even without the bone-crunching physical feats to which she is often assigned".[4] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Strange Days has a dazzling atmosphere of grunge futurism, but beneath its dark satire of audiovisual decadence lurks a naggingly conventional underworld thriller".[5] Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers called the film Bigelow's "magnum opus", and wrote, "In a film of striking performances, Bassett's is the standout -- she is fierce, funny and heart rending".[6] In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Edward Guthmann wrote, "Strange Days wants to say something about faith and redemption -- about the importance of maintaining one's humanity in a darkened world. That's a worthy intent, but 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".[7] In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan wrote, "No matter how much thought may have gone into Strange Days, terribly little has come out the other end".[8]

In popular culture



See also

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Strange Days is a 1995 film set in a dystopian 1999 Los Angeles on New Year's Eve.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Written by James Cameron and Jay Cocks.
new year's eve 1999.
anything is possible. nothing is forbidden.


Lenny Nero

  • Have you ever jacked in? Have you ever wire tripped? No? [smirk] A virgin brain. Well, we're gonna start you off right. This isn't like "TV only better", this is life. Yeah, this is a piece of somebody's life. Pure and uncut, straight from the cerebral cortex. You're there! You're doing it, seeing it, hearing-hearing it. You're feeling it. It's about the stuff you can't have, right? Like running into a liquor store with a .357 magnum in your hand, feeling the adrenaline pumping through your veins. I can make it happen. I can get you anything you want. Ya just have to talk to me. Talk to me, talk to me, talk to me, talk to me. I am your priest. I am 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! Are we beginning to see the possibilities here? You know you want it. -- (Teaser version of Lenny's sales pitch)
  • Look... everyone needs to take a walk to the dark end of the street sometimes, it's what we are.
  • Bullet-resistant? What ever happened to bullet-proof?


  • The issue's not whether you're paranoid, Lenny, I mean look at this shit, the issue is whether you're paranoid enough.


  • HOST: So Dan, are you looking forward to the New Year?
    DAN: Not really. I mean what's the point? Nothing changes New Years day. The economy sucks, gas is over three bucks a gallon, fifth grade kids are shooting each other at recess... the whole thing sucks, right? So what the hell are we celebrating?

Lornette 'Mace' Mason

  • This is real time! Time to get real!
  • Memories are supposed to fade, Lenny. They're built like that for a reason.
  • This is your life, right here, right now! It's real-time, you hear me, real time! Time to get real, not playback. You understand me?

Faith Justin

  • You know one of the ways that movies are still better than playback? 'cause the music comes up, there's credits, and you always know when it's over. [Turns to Lenny] It's over!

Jeriko One

  • (to the cops) You know what? You've pulled over the wrong black man, Officer Steckler! I'm the 800 pound gorilla in your mist, fucker! I make more money in a day than you make in a whole year! And my lawyer loves sending sorryass Aryan RoboCop fuckers like you to jail!


Max: Only he doesn't know about me and Faith. So I say to myself, if I turn the job down, he just gets somebody else. And I lose Faith... to coin a phrase. So to buy time, I do the skank. I still gotta do something about Tran... I figure it's him or me... but I can't cap him without a chump to take the fall. And who better than his girlfriend's loser ex-boyfriend... a known criminal... who has been seen hassling them in public numerous times.
Lenny Nero: And who was, regrettably, also your best fucking friend.
Max: No plan is perfect, Lenny. Hey, cheer up. World's gonna end in ten minutes anyway.

Mace: I can't believe you had to give them the damn tape.
Lenny Nero: Yeah I know. It was one of my favorites: me and Faith in the hot tub on my birthday. (takes the real tape out of his jacket) Are we impressed yet?
Mace: Yeah... pretty impressed.

Lenny Nero: I didn't know you were color blind, Max.
Max: It was the only way I could stand your ties.

Palmer Strickland: Nero.
Lenny Nero: Strickland.
Palmer Strickland: Comissioner Strickland!
Lenny Nero: See, since you shit-canned my career, I don't even have to call you sir. One of life's small pleasures.


  • new year's eve 1999. anything is possible. nothing is forbidden.
  • An extreme taste of reality.


External links

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