Part of my 2015 Sci-Fi Experience.
Made in the mid-nineties this is a film set in the final few days of 1999. It’s a sort of a dystopian film in that society has certainly gone downhill, although it hasn’t yet reached end of the world or total breakdown. Not as the film opens at any rate. The protagonist, Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes ((hero is certainly not how I would describe him)) is an ex-cop. He worked vice, but got kicked off the force, now he works by hustling and conning, and selling memories. These are illegal tech. You wire your head up and record your experiences then, either you can relive the moment some time in the future, or you sell it on. A virtual way of living on the edge without ever doing anything wrong. According to Lenny that is.
He spends most of his free time reliving the past, the wonderful times he shared with his ex-girlfriend Faith(Juliette Lewis, who always wanted to “make it” and who wasn’t about to let Lenny hold her back. He, of course, thinks she needs rescuing from the bad element she’s now hanging around with. So when her best friend, Iris, comes looking for Lenny, saying both her and Faith are in trouble… well, that’s another excuse for Lenny to call round and see her.
Only problem is Iris was right and Lenny is about to be dragged into a murderous mess.
Seeing as this film is set at New Year’s Eve it is a film that Himself often watches at this time of year, so we watched it last night to welcome in the new year.
It’s an interesting film, there are a lot of reasons to watch it. Sure, its dated, especially in regard to costume, but the issues it raises are ones that seem to be all too up to date.
At the films centre is the death of Jeriko One, a black music star and political activist. He, along with another black man and a white woman were shot and killed. The police say it looks like a gangland shooting, but tensions are still running high. Show Spoiler ▼
So police corruption and casual racism. No different than today.
Lenny may be the central protagonist, but for me, Mace (Angela Bassett is the star of the film. She works as a chauffeur/bodyguard and is good friends with Lenny. Although she is being pushed to breaking point by him. She works hard, she has a son to support and no one to help her with that, and she is fed up of Lenny pulling out of her and never giving back.
And she is just plain awesome.
She is also faced with the prospect of hiding the truth and perhaps letting racist murderers off but preventing all out street violence, or exposing the corruption and maybe getting killed herself, and being responsible, as she sees it, for the violence that will erupt.
That part of the film I really liked. Unfortunately Lenny is just too much of a sleazeball for me to invest in, especially at the beginning of the film. He makes his life by peddling the experiences of criminals, for the most part, and while he does have some standards “he doesn’t do snuff” he really isn’t someone I wanted to spend a lot of time with.
I was also distracted by thinking about how exactly the memories are recorded. Lenny says that all the feelings and emotions are recorded, but then they seem to record and sell the experiences of prostitutes who surely fake their enjoyment. How would that make for an experience anyone would like to revisit?
As I say, it does have its faults, but it is a film that certainly shows how far we haven’t come in 15 years.