Just watched Strange Days and The Cell, both films featuring 1) mind-bending technology 2) queasy psychosexual overtones and 3) Vincent D'Onofrio playing a complete turd.
The Cell (Tarsem, 2000)
Well, it was a piece of crap, as I expected coming in. Director Tarsem, as befitting a former advertising director, creates some amazing spectacle but unfortunately that's all it really is. The dream-like imagery never contributes to a further understanding of the killer, and while it sticks with you its all a bit empty-headed, which is not what you want in a film that's purportedly all deep and psychological and shit. It would also have been more impacting if the real-life scenes involving the killer and his victims weren't so lurid, and if the real-life characters weren't all so opaque.
I'd also like to point out that this film is perhaps even worse than U-571 in terms of Hollywood's Brit-phobia. In this film, the killer himself is American. His victims are American. His abusive mother and father (the latter of which is strongly linked to his messed-up psyche) are American. And yet the inner manifestation of the killer - who is basically the REAL villain of the film, more so that the killer himself - talks and dresses like a flauncy British fancy man. Huh?
Strange Days (1995)
I love that Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron thought, in 1995 'just five-more years and we'll have technology we can use to swap memories with each other'. Anyway, this film starts off alright - promising an atmospheric with a good dose of millennial angst - but ends up not really going anywhere. It starts off as being about the effects of technology and y2k paranoia, then suddenly delves into race relations and police corruption, and it all culminates in a anticlimactic non-conspiracy with an underwhelming reveal.
The film does well in making Fiennes character sympathetic despite also being a total sleazeball, but the implied romance and friendship with a female cab driver is pretty implausible. Still beats the Cell though.