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Memories are meant to fade. They’re designed that way for a reason.

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See… I can get you what you want, I can. I can get you anything, you just have to talk to me, you have to trust me. You can trust me, ’cause I’m your priest, I’m your shrink… I am you main connection to the switchboard of the soul. I’m the magic man… Santa Claus of the subconscious. You say it, you think it, you can have it”.

I don’t take notes as I watch movies. But sometimes as I watch a film, the thought crosses my mind that I would like to do that: freeze the DVD and move forward just a few seconds at a time so I could write down some of the lines so I could get back to them later and enjoy them over again.

It never happens though. I tell myself that there probably is some nice person with a lot of time at hands who has written down the best quotes from the movie at IMDb. And sometimes they have. Other times I get disappointed when it turns out that people have made some pretty strange choices, writing down throw-away lines, but not getting to the brilliant lines that you want to tattoo into your brain so you can hold onto them forever.

One man’s mundane and desperate existence is another man’s Technicolor.”

Strange Days was one of those movies where some of the lines stood out to me particularly. Not all are completely natural; some come out like written little speeches, nothing that a person would say in a normal conversation. And yet there was just something to it that stuck with me and that now makes me sprinkle this text with quotes from it. It’s not my usual way to write a review, but this time they were irresistible.

Memories are meant to fade. They’re designed that way for a reason.”

I don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of it. This science fiction thriller from the mid 90s appears to be a little overlooked, judging from how it did at the box office and from that at least I hadn’t heard of it before I was presented to it the other night.

It’s really a shame if you ask me, because it’s a wonderful film, a true gem for someone like me. But then I’m really into the kind of science fiction that explores the relationship between mankind and technology in future that is just around the corner. Blade Runner is one of my favourite movies and while this one isn’t quite as good, it reminds me a little bit of it in the style.

Look… everyone needs to take a walk to the dark end of the street sometimes, it’s what we are.”

The story takes place in the last few days of the last millennium, as New Years eve 1999 is closing in. Lenny Nero, played by an astonishingly young Ralph Fiennes, is an ex-cop who does shady business with data-discs that contain recorded memories that you can plug into your brain, reliving the memories of someone else. One day he’s contacted by someone who says that his ex girlfriend is in some kind of danger and he also receives a disc with a strange recording on it. He starts to investigate it and the more he learns, the worse things start to happen to him and his bad-ass female friend Mace (wonderfully played by Angela Bassett).

Paranoia is just reality on a finer scale.”

But it isn’t the action that is the unique selling point – even if it’s engaging and exciting enough – it’s the idea of those devices tied to your brain with and the consequences of their offerings to bring you to a virtual reality that will stick with me in the long run, bringing me all those questions to dwell over long after the film is finished.

I also loved the crazy the-end-of-the-world-is-near atmosphere – dense, dark and believable, associating to the riots that followed after the case of Rodney King in 1999.

This tie costs more than your entire wardrobe… it’s the one thing that stands between me and the jungle.”

Despite the obvious time marks, like the millennium shift that is over and done with a long time ago without anything particular happening, the movie has that timeless vibe that makes it feel fresh. 17 years after its opening it’s almost in mint condition.

Considering how much I liked this film, it feels a little bit petty to mention that there is a moment of cheesiness that I could have lived without. So, there I said it. But it’s such a small spot that I easily can overlook.

Because in the end Strange Days is a shiny piece of a movie and it increases my interest for the director Kathryn Bigelow, which was raised by her Oscar award winning  The Hurt Locker, which was one of the most exciting films I’ve seen. I really need to check out her other films. If they’re anywhere near as good as those two movies, I’ve got some great experiences to look forward to.

Cheer up. The world’s about to end in ten minutes anyway.”


Strange Days
(Kathryn Bigelow, US, 1995) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

July 19, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Strange Days