Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans (2009)

Movie quotes:
"Right now, I’m working on about an hour and a half sleep over the past three days, and I’m still trying to remain courteous, but I’m beginning to think that that’s getting in the way of my being effective."
- McDonagh

Chavez: Are you all right?
McDonagh: Sometimes I have bad days.

At a glance:
Werner Herzog is the perfect man to direct Nicolas Cage’s gratuitous bad cop wallow in depravity and excess

Our review (with spoilers):
Nicolas Cage is about as bad a lieutenant as humanly possible. We see him briefly in the opening scene – he talks tough, but at least he is willing to dive into snake-infested water to rescue a drowning convict. But that dive causes a life-long back problem that spirals him into a world of prescription and non-prescription drugs. He has no qualms about using the power of his badge and gun to steal drugs from anyone who is in possession, and have sex with their girlfriend, too. Absolute powe corrupts absolutely, and perhaps he could have gone on with this depraved lifestyle forever, but he makes two mistakes. First, he threatens and harasses an old woman whose son is a senator. And second, he steals drugs from a guy who is close with the mafia. Soon, he is being blackmailed for 50 large, while at the same time, his gun is taken away and he is under investigation. Perhaps worse than that, his girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendez) has been talking to his father, a reforming alcoholic, and now she has started going to AA meetings with him. Yet despite all his side trips into self-gratification, he’s still a good detective dedicated to solving the murder of a Senegalese immigrant family – even if it means he’s doing drug deals with the guys who did it.

Cage, who has recently been looking increasing haggard as various action heroes with much younger girlfriends, finally gets to play a part that both suits his current look, and allows him to chew scenery, something he does so well. He’s still got a young girlfriend, except this time it makes sense, as they are both addicts and he’s more of her pimp/protector, anyway. And who better to direct Cage in this role than a man who loves to document and live extremes, Werner Herzog?

Rating: 3.5 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Becomes bizarrely comical as it gets increasingly depraved. But Herzog's deliberately bonkers approach, matched by Cage's hammy performance, is strangely entertaining."
- Rich Cline (Shadows on the Wall)

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