Strange Days (1995)
Back in 1995, some might have felt that Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days was a fresh, pulsating prophecy on the big millennium shift in which the keywords were paranoia, uncontrollable crime, deception and a general human demise. I have always had a hard time appreciating doomnik films as valuable art - especially if they have a feeble five year perspective and warrants their scenario with unstriking conditions that we've already dealt with for centuries, such as racial differences or technological development. Strange Days uses simple gloom and chaotic visuals (albeit quite impressive such) to create something we're supposed to perceive as dangerous and imminent. James Cameron did this so much better with his Terminator films a few years earlier, and Bigelow is too preoccupied with being hip to be able to bring much valuable into her work. The film clings desperately to stereotypes and cliché to evoke emotion - such as Michael Wincott's over-the-top bad-guy, or the already well-discussed "sensory recordings", which had been more than sufficiently explored in a handful of early 1980s films (Altered States, Brainstorm). Ralph Fiennes looks great in the lead, and gives a technically well-developed performance, but isn't at all at home in these shoes. His intellectual persona doesn't belong in this milieu, and he knows it all too well.