Twentieth Century Fox | Release Date: October 13, 1995 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Generally favorable reviews based on 30 Critics
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Bigelow's knack for fast-paced action, her skill at evoking a threatening atmosphere and her affinity with damaged people all come together in the daringly kinetic new film. [13 Oct 1995, p.28]
Bigelow's walk on the wired side isn't perfect, but she certainly grabs us by our voyeurism and yanks us into the head trip of the year. "Strange Days" is more than wired - it's loaded. [13 Oct 1995, p.37]
Finally, in Strange Days, written by ex-husband James Cameron and Jay Cocks, she has a script that is worthy of her intense and intensely personal visual style. The result is a mind-blowing visionary thriller set on the last day of the 20th century in smoldering Los Angeles, a kind of "Blade Runner" for the millennium. [13 Oct 1995, p.3E]
Everything in the movie is excessive, and if you have no taste for flamboyant or violent genre pieces, you may find much of it--and especially the amazingly protracted climax--a little ridiculous. But what's fascinating about "Strange Days" is both its sheer kinetic energy, the vitality of the actors and the density and detail of its crazy little world. [13 Oct 1995, p.C2]
Strange Days - on and off screen - should be a lesson to filmmakers not to use virulent, touchy subjects for entertainment shortcuts. Bigelow has created a state-of-the-art movie machine, with all the moral and political complexity of an Etch-a-Sketch. [13 Oct 1995, p.10]
Strange Days presents itself as an original vision, yet many of its ideas about the perils of virtual reality were more intriguingly explored in several early-1980s thrillers, among them David Cronenberg's "Videodrome" and Douglas Trumbull's "Brainstorm." [13 Oct 1995, p.F1]
Not for a moment did I believe any of these characters. They were not as provocative as the clips Fiennes was selling, and, in a strange way, "Strange Days" is undone by the very product it condemns. [13 Oct 1995, p.B]
It wallows queasily in its high-tech violence and is woefully anti-climactic; if you think director Kathryn Bigelow doesn't know when to quit, just think back to her sky-diving folly Point Break. The audio-visual ka-boom here befits James Cameron's producing-writing co-credits, but little else justifies Days' prime Saturday-Sunday slot in the New York Film Festival. [6 Oct 1995, p.4D]
For about an hour the writing, acting and direction coalesce in a prismatic, hyperkinetic ode to end-of-century doom. And then the two-hours-plus film starts to subside into genre convention. [16 Oct 1995, p.86]
For 2 1/2 hours, Strange Days swirls and blooms its way into your head, sounds and colors popping like fireworks, a stream of ideas flowing steadily beneath the dazzle. It's a light show for the mind, a kaleidoscope of exhilarating action, social commentary and post-modern science fiction -- yet when it's all over, you can't help but think, "Is that it?" [13 Oct 1995, p.5G]
Funny things, images. While to depict something visually is not necessarily to endorse it, when Bigelow shows rape as she does in Strange Days, she does so from the rapist's point of view. It's kind of like making a movie about the dangers of the atom bomb that glamorizes the aesthetic beauty of the mushroom cloud. [13 Oct 1995, p.05]
One imagines that Bigelow's story conferences with ex-husband Cameron (maker of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "True Lies") and Cocks were free of such apparently anti-entertainment concepts as "character development," "predictability" and "believability." [13 Oct 1995, p.N44]
Strange Days, then, isn't nearly strange enough. Once the premise has lost its promise, and Fiennes's brave attempts at characterization are sacrificed to pseudo-dazzle, everything appears awfully humdrum and, yes, distinctly dated. So dated that in the crowded and pat climax, as the ball drops on the year 2000, all that's missing is Dick Clark himself - damn, it's out with the old and in with the older. [13 Oct 1995]
The movie is shot as if Bigelow wanted to take her audience to the very edge of sensory overload. Her pulsing, super-psychedelic images are edgy and invasive. They burn as they hit your retina. After a while, however, Bigelow's careening camera, the heavy-metal music and the flash cutting begin to make you feel hammered and abused. Though the movie is jammed with plot, nothing seems to happen. [13 Oct 1995, p.F01]