YMMV / Strange Days

  • Complete Monster: Max Peltier is an ex-cop and private detective turned Psycho for Hire. Contracted to silence prostitute Iris when she witnesses the murder of rapper Jeriko One, he hooks her up to a SQUIDnote , then rapes and murders her, using the SQUID to ensure that she experiences not only her own horror, but his enjoyment of the act. He then sends his memory of the event to Lenny Nero, his supposed best friend, so that Lenny can experience it first hand, leaving him a shaken mess. He attacks Lenny's friend and memory supplier Tick, using a SQUID to overload and melt his brain, then does the same thing to his own employer, Philo Gant, reducing him to a comatose wreck before murdering him. In the climax, Max reveals that he plans to pin the blame for all of the murders on Lenny, then tries to throw his "friend" out of a window.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
  • Director Displacement: James Cameron was heavily involved with the film as a co-writer and co-producer based on his story, but Kathryn Bigelow directed.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: A controversy relating to police brutality, specifically an execution-style killing of a black man, on New Year's.
    • A lot of the film deals with themes of increased militarisation of the police, America becoming a police state, and the threat of anti-cop riots. Fast forward 20 years after the film's release and 15 years after the film is supposed to be set and, well, Life Imitates Art more uncomfortably than some would care to admit.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A news broadcaster mentioned that astrologists predicted that Moammar Ghadafi would win the Nobel Peace Prize. Fast forward to 2010 to the 2011 Libyan uprising...
    • Very early in the film, a caller on a radio talk show can be heard complaining about the country's problems, among them how gas costs more than three dollars per gallon. It was only a few years after 2000 in real life when gas reached and exceeded this dystopian price.
    • This isn't the only movie with Ralph Fiennes in which the ability to view other people's memories plays a significant plot point.
  • Iron Woobie: Mace.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Lenny, who is also a rather tarnished Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Narm: A bloodsoaked, crazy-eyed Vincent D'Onofrio lunging towards our heroes with a gun in slow motion. That's scary. Unless, of course, he's also handcuffed to his partner's corpse and is dragging it behind him. Then it becomes hilarious.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The rape scenes. 'Nuff said.
  • Sampled Up: A rare movie version of this trope - a lot of people will know the Fatboy Slim song "Right Here, Right Now", which samples this movie, better than the actual movie. Though admittedly that is due to the song's cultural oversaturation.
  • Squick: The rape-murder recording, especially taking into consideration what that involves for the character using it. It isn't just seeing it in first person like the audience does (which is bad enough), but experiencing everything the perpetrator experienced. And, since he had it hooked up to a device he'd put on her head, she did, too. *shudder*
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The scene where Lenny reveals why exactly he's still so hung up on Faith:
      When I met Faith, she was just another runaway, giving twenty dollar blowjobs to buy crank. Just another lost soul. But she had this voice... it was scary, like she could take all the hurt and rage of the entire world and lift it up to Heaven in one voice. I helped her. And I promised her that I'd always just be there, to protect her. See, it's not about what's in her head, it's what's in mine. I can't let go of the promise. It's like it's all I have left.
    • For added value, Lenny begins this by asking Mace whether she's ever been in love with someone who didn't return her feelings. Mace pointedly replies that yes, she has.