Strange Days. 1995. USA. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. With Angela Bassett, Ralph Fiennes, Glenn Plummer, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Vincent D’Onofrio. 35mm. 145 min.
Set on the eve of a new millennium, Kathryn Bigelow’s cyberpunk sci-fi imagines a near-future Los Angeles equally marked by the 1992 Rodney King riots and its history as point of origin for the noir genre. The film follows Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), an ex-cop turned entrepreneur who illegally sells virtual-reality recordings of first-person memories, accessed directly via the cerebral cortex. Angela Bassett stars as his far more capable limousine driver, Mace. After the murder of hip-hop activist Jeriko One (Glenn Plummer), Lenny and Mace have to figure out who is using the technology to terrorize innocent civilians (making them watch their own murders from the killer’s perspective.) In a soul-baring, no-nonsense turn as action hero, Bassett makes Mace the conscience of Lenny’s operation; her insistence that he get his head back to “Right here! Right now!” was immortalized on countless turn-of-the-millennium dance tracks.