Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
A film about 1999, made in 1995. Everyone thought Y2K was going to be a big thing. The world was coming to an end.
But neither of those things happened.
I wish that that was the main problem with this film. But it’s not.
Following Lenny Nero (Fiennes), the film is about an ex cop who now sells an illegal high: other people’s memories. These are memories of things that people wished they could do, or relive doing. Robing banks. Having sex with an ex girlfriend. Apparently, this is highly addictive and was a genuine concern for those of us living in 1995. Nero is joined by his pal Mace (Bassett) an incredible powerhouse of a woman and the best thing in the film. She, for no logical reason, can’t say no to Nero, and he gets her into scrapes. Which is odd. I think the idea is that Nero is meant to be charming, like Han Solo, instead he is intense and obsessive, like Ralph Fiennes (normally that’s a wonderful thing, but here it doesn’t gel). Nero is in love with his ex, Faith (Lewis) who left him a long time ago. He spends a lot of the film following her around, harassing her and repeatedly trying to find excuses to speak to her, even though he’s meant to be solving a series of murders that have been captured on memory tape and sent to him. He’s helped in this endeavor by his old cop buddy Max, who’s now a body guard.
The murders themselves are really not nice. I’m not sure why they thought that was necessary to make their point about how awful humanity is, or whatever. But, actually, that’s a reason to skip this film. I almost turned it off for that reason.
Why Is It A Must See: It’s a really telling portrait of the 90’s, and what we were afraid of. While the film has plot holes so big you could host a rave in them, the film is trying to show how people felt about the future in the mid-90’s: that it was dark, violent, dystopian, and that technology was going to be our downfall, that entertainment was going to become a substance abuse issue. Perhaps this is more poignant for how none of those fears were really founded in anything.
See It If: you want to see Angela Bassett be an absolute boss. She steals the film. Fast forward through the rest of it.