Time capsules are funny things. The idea of one holds such optimistic appeal, on the part of both the person burying their artifacts and the person digging them up—but then you open it up, and there's this mound of confused, well-intentioned junk. Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days is a perfect representation of that disappointing-yet-fascinating experience. Featuring a (not great) screenplay by Jay Cocks and James Cameron, Days is clearly inspired by current events circa 1994 (the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson trials), but incorporates those aspects with all the aptitude you'd expect from middle-aged white guys who are pretty sure they get "that whole Black experience thing." The film is (barely) saved by the combo of Angela Basset in Sarah Connor mode and Ralph Fiennes doing a slippery James Woods impersonation. Strange Days is hopelessly dated and tone deaf, yes, but like even the most disappointing time capsules, still strangely compelling.
by Bobby Roberts
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