Last night I came across my DVD of Strange Days and decided to watch it. It's a difficult film to watch: very violent. It was written by James Cameron and directed by Kathryn Bigelow which is a hell of a pedigree. I have always found it disturbing because of the way it makes the viewer complicit in the violence. The premise is based on a kind of VR technology that records experiences which you can play back. But that's theSF hook. The plot is a crime thriller and last night it was that element that struck me. Strange Days was made in 1995 and set in 1999. It's now 2016 and it really underlines how far we haven't come. It's heartbreaking. A famous African American musician and activist is murdered one night in LA. Racial tensions are running high already and his death threatens to begin a race war. As the plot unfolds, we learn that he was killed by a couple of police officers after a random traffic stop. We are led to think it's a conspiracy with many cops involved in the cover up, but eventually it becomes clear that they were simply a pair of racists looking for an excuse. As the Black Lives Matter campaign is earning headlines in the UK this week, it feels all the more relevant. In the worst posible way. One of the reasons I love SF is because we can learn from it. why haven't we learned from it?
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