The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (18)

Film

Thrillers

Bad Lieutenant.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 18 2010

The first question to ask about Werner Herzog’s jaw-dropping cops-on-crack epic is: why that title? Abel Ferrara’s 1992 ‘Bad Lieutenant’ may have made a moderate arthouse splash, largely thanks to Harvey Keitel’s literally balls-out performance, but it hardly screamed ‘franchise’. And while both movies feature drugged-up, sexually voracious cops investigating hideous crimes, in all other aspects these are two entirely separate films.

When we first meet Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage), he’s a fairly decent guy, risking his life to save a drowning man and suffering chronic back damage in the process, a pain which leads directly to his self-medicating downfall. And while the discovery of a murdered immigrant family may provide an opportunity for redemption which chimes with the earlier movie, Herzog and screenwriter William Finkelstein seem entirely indifferent to the ideas of Catholic guilt and salvation which Ferrara explored, just as McDonagh himself seems largely uninterested in solving the crime. This is a movie about morality, but only as far as it serves the crazed characterisation and breathless juggernaut plot.

And yet the hijacking of Ferrara’s title serves the film in unpredictable ways. First, it establishes the kind of seedy, neon-lit milieu in which Herzog’s film luxuriates, a devastated post-Katrina New Orleans where normality has been hopelessly compromised. And second, it makes the movie feel cheap and grubby, an unofficial sequel made without the consent of the original director, a true slice of down ’n’ dirty outsider trash.

And that’s exactly what this ‘Bad Lieutenant’ is: unashamed, all-American junk, a flashback to those great genre movies of the ’70s and ’80s which managed to entertain an audience, undermine society and score a few sly political points along the way. Cage’s performance is the engine that drives the film, degenerating from dedicated detective to hoarse, gibbering drug fiend in under two hours. And as he transforms, the movie goes with him, from straight cop drama to screamingly excessive operatic fantasy complete with wild experimental asides and thunderous, balletic violence.
 
There’s never been a movie quite like this before, and there almost certainly never will be again: following its abject failure in the US, it’s hard to imagine the studos hiring another manic German maverick to helm a cop thriller. But that’s exactly why the movie is unmissable: in fusing European experimentalism and Hollywood boldness, Herzog has created a genuine oddity, a furious and unforgettable hybrid which may well prove to be 2010’s most purely enjoyable moviegoing experience.
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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri May 21, 2010

Duration:

122 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

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3.4 / 5

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Technoguy

If evil was an opera it would look like this.In Nicholas Cage Herzog found somebody he could be mutually agitated with.You can project all madness onto Cage’s countenance.Throw in drugs,hell he’s already done alcohol,and you are away,throw in New Orleans with its wild convoluted otherness( post-Katrina) as far from East Coast WASP values and the Catholic guilt of the 1st Bad Lieutenant.Tell Herzog you have to call the film Bad Lieutenant if you want to make this film.He countered with ‘Port of Call’ as an add-on.Herzog threw in his iguanas and alligators,saw the film through their eyes-watch out they bite! Herzog has made his docu-films on the wilderness in the Antartic and the man who got eaten by bears.He was offered this American film and brought to it his obsessions and preoccupations. The character is called ‘bad’ so lets make him bad.He is dealing with outsiderdom of Cage and prostitute girlfriend,of the African family who get murdered.There is a mad glee in Cage’s pursuit of this case,his blatant disregard for rules,his girlfriend is a working prostitute,who smokes dope; Cage has sex with people he’s investigating on drugs offences;he smokes crack,sniffs cocaine; threatens old ladies with guns.How is it Cage does all this and yet keeps you engaged:is he a cartoon,is he riffing like a jazz musician?The film craclkes with a kind of alien energy and mad logic.Cage’s character came to drugs through presciption medication for his back don’t you know in rescuing a drowning man in a prison.this same man now redeemed with a job comes back and saves him and they sit infront of an aquarium where sharks are swimming.Is Cage Klaus Kinski 2?

Technoguy

If evil was an opera it would look like this.In Nicholas Cage Herzog found somebody he could be mutually agitated with.You can project all madness onto Cage’s countenance.Throw in drugs,hell he’s already done alcohol,and you are away,throw in New Orleans with its wild convoluted otherness( post-Katrina) as far from East Coast WASP values and the Catholic guilt of the 1st Bad Lieutenant.Tell Herzog you have to call the film Bad Lieutenant if you want to make this film.He countered with ‘Port of Call’ as an add-on.Herzog threw in his iguanas and alligators,saw the film through their eyes-watch out they bite! Herzog has made his docu-films on the wilderness in the Antartic and the man who got eaten by bears.He was offered this American film and brought to it his obsessions and preoccupations. The character is called ‘bad’ so lets make him bad.He is dealing with outsiderdom of Cage and prostitute girlfriend,of the African family who get murdered.There is a mad glee in Cage’s pursuit of this case,his blatant disregard for rules,his girlfriend is a working prostitute,who smokes dope; Cage has sex with people he’s investigating on drugs offences;he smokes crack,sniffs cocaine; threatens old ladies with guns.How is it Cage does all this and yet keeps you engaged:is he a cartoon,is he riffing like a jazz musician?The film craclkes with a kind of alien energy and mad logic.Cage’s character came to drugs through presciption medication for his back don’t you know in rescuing a drowning man in a prison.this same man now redeemed with a job comes back and saves him and they sit infront of an aquarium where sharks are swimming.Is Cage Klaus Kinski 2?

Tom

After directing operas and becoming old school to younger talents such as Tarantino, Werner Herzog sets about to make his own trashy B movie that aims to subvert its inspirations. Nicholas Cage is a cop with endless bad behaviors who finds redemption in the third act. A fun ride and far more enjoyable than many of the 1970's B-movies that inspired it. But it's character transformations are unbelievable even when tongue in cheek, as when the last few minutes see all his problems whisked away. Michael Haneke subverted the American crime film far more effectively in Funny Games and his own US remake, which might have been an inspiration to this loose redo of Bad Lieutenant.

Tom

After directing operas and becoming old school to younger talents such as Tarantino, Werner Herzog sets about to make his own trashy B movie that aims to subvert its inspirations. Nicholas Cage is a cop with endless bad behaviors who finds redemption in the third act. A fun ride and far more enjoyable than many of the 1970's B-movies that inspired it. But it's character transformations are unbelievable even when tongue in cheek, as when the last few minutes see all his problems whisked away. Michael Haneke subverted the American crime film far more effectively in Funny Games and his own US remake, which might have been an inspiration to this loose redo of Bad Lieutenant.

dobbs

I forgot to give star rating with my original comment (page 1) Interestingly Hertzog and Lynch are premiering a joint film in the Edinburgh Film Festival (annoyingly sold out immediately) which I can't wait to see. One more attribution is Chabrol, the crazy resolution from desperate exposure to heroic recognition in the space of one scene reminded me of many of chabrols ideas, and of La Rupture'. Now there was a film made on acid!

dobbs

I forgot to give star rating with my original comment (page 1) Interestingly Hertzog and Lynch are premiering a joint film in the Edinburgh Film Festival (annoyingly sold out immediately) which I can't wait to see. One more attribution is Chabrol, the crazy resolution from desperate exposure to heroic recognition in the space of one scene reminded me of many of chabrols ideas, and of La Rupture'. Now there was a film made on acid!

scrumpyjack

watched it again (re 27/5) can now confirm 5 star. like The Big Lebowski, just keeps giving.

scrumpyjack

watched it again (re 27/5) can now confirm 5 star. like The Big Lebowski, just keeps giving.

HP

Watching someone play someone high on crack (cue long scenes of staring at an Iguana) is very tedious but not as tedious as a film like fear and loathing in las vegas. Just skip to the incredibly funny bit in the middle where he threatens a cantakerous old lady with his .44 magnum, and discard the rest.

HP

Watching someone play someone high on crack (cue long scenes of staring at an Iguana) is very tedious but not as tedious as a film like fear and loathing in las vegas. Just skip to the incredibly funny bit in the middle where he threatens a cantakerous old lady with his .44 magnum, and discard the rest.

jock mcgillicuddy

giving this film 5 stars is a joke. its a confusing mess of a film, it just doesnt make sense. werner herzog should be ashamed of himself

jock mcgillicuddy

giving this film 5 stars is a joke. its a confusing mess of a film, it just doesnt make sense. werner herzog should be ashamed of himself

Sutton

Excellent film! I thought Nicolas Cage was superb, not often I’ve been able to say that - though he was good as Big Daddy in Kickass. The film has humour, pathos and keeps you entertained for the duration. It is quirky in places, e.g., the reptile scenes and it makes you think about it for quite a while afterwards – Herzog has done a great job with his direction. I reckon it will be one of my top 5 favourite films of this year. Almost 5 stars!?

Sutton

Excellent film! I thought Nicolas Cage was superb, not often I’ve been able to say that - though he was good as Big Daddy in Kickass. The film has humour, pathos and keeps you entertained for the duration. It is quirky in places, e.g., the reptile scenes and it makes you think about it for quite a while afterwards – Herzog has done a great job with his direction. I reckon it will be one of my top 5 favourite films of this year. Almost 5 stars!?

Dave SJ

Sorry, but California boy Nicholas Cage playing a tough NOLO cop on the edge is just about as believable as Kevin Costner in the title role of "Robin Hood". (Remember that one?) This film was OK, but I would have liked it a lot better with somebody like Jeff Bridges in the lead role (now THERE's a wild man), and also with some judicious paring-down of the WAY-out there story line. What is it with the diretors of gangster movies these days? Do they all think that if they clock in somewhere over 2 hours, they will have a contender for "Godfather" on their hands?

Dave SJ

Sorry, but California boy Nicholas Cage playing a tough NOLO cop on the edge is just about as believable as Kevin Costner in the title role of "Robin Hood". (Remember that one?) This film was OK, but I would have liked it a lot better with somebody like Jeff Bridges in the lead role (now THERE's a wild man), and also with some judicious paring-down of the WAY-out there story line. What is it with the diretors of gangster movies these days? Do they all think that if they clock in somewhere over 2 hours, they will have a contender for "Godfather" on their hands?

cz

Great film. Dirty Harry meets reality and drugs. I genuinly feared and hoped for the characters. I disagree with people calling it crap. It doesn't deliver the usual Hollywood characters and moralisation. So what?!... This film goes much deeper. Go and watch it! Herzog & Morris rulez!

cz

Great film. Dirty Harry meets reality and drugs. I genuinly feared and hoped for the characters. I disagree with people calling it crap. It doesn't deliver the usual Hollywood characters and moralisation. So what?!... This film goes much deeper. Go and watch it! Herzog & Morris rulez!

scrumpyjack

Can't disagree with T.H. review, but Needs a re-watch to decide on 5*. Certain to be in years top 5, with lines as fine as "What the fuck are those Iguana's doing on my coffee table ?!" class.

scrumpyjack

Can't disagree with T.H. review, but Needs a re-watch to decide on 5*. Certain to be in years top 5, with lines as fine as "What the fuck are those Iguana's doing on my coffee table ?!" class.

usman latif khawaja

there is enough tenderness here to makee you grind yor teeth as you gaze upon a totally corrupt police department which could be anywhere in contemporary america ,the screen itself hallucinates with the amount of hard core drugs being used by the cops criminals and the ordinary citizens ,as such new orleans itself becomes a drug junky in the act with the hazed camera swathed in drowsy images ,whether they are illusions of imaginary iguanas accompanied by hard rock ,or the insane and totally crazed countenance of Cage ,which herzog has availed to the full with his constant reminder that his character is so bad it is almost good ,just as the movie itself ,which despite a flawed script enchants you and yet if you ponder on the going ons ,they will make little sense in a logical manner , i realised that herzog was just doing that as both a satire on contemporary america as well as humanity where no one is concerned with morality but if it accidentally is encountered and suits the motives than it is blatantly exploited by the protagonists . A special mention for eva mendes as she shines with cage as his drugged out ,prostitue girlfriend who is a matter of fact lover and a professional sex worker . the fact they also introdduced a nameless dog and a african under age kid in the script on ptretext of morality issues ,where the two only innocent bystanders look totally bewildered makes it as darkly humouresque as the lunatic antics of the bad lieutenant ,who virtually indulges in everything from open air crack smoking to harassing and torturing old women and virtually rape on gunpoint in public . all this cannot happen in reality but that it is staged here as a metaphorical optical illusion is both engaging and a behavioural study in human psycology ,but more so it is rather a good movie with a larger than life performance by cage who is compelling to watch and virtually transfixes your vision and suspends your logic for the time spent in the cinema - though great it is not but gratigying it definitely is in no uncertain terms . kudos to pressman for bringing cage and herzog together as everything else we have seen before except for that characteristic bizarre yet charming cop who can make us eat out of his hand as cage .

usman latif khawaja

there is enough tenderness here to makee you grind yor teeth as you gaze upon a totally corrupt police department which could be anywhere in contemporary america ,the screen itself hallucinates with the amount of hard core drugs being used by the cops criminals and the ordinary citizens ,as such new orleans itself becomes a drug junky in the act with the hazed camera swathed in drowsy images ,whether they are illusions of imaginary iguanas accompanied by hard rock ,or the insane and totally crazed countenance of Cage ,which herzog has availed to the full with his constant reminder that his character is so bad it is almost good ,just as the movie itself ,which despite a flawed script enchants you and yet if you ponder on the going ons ,they will make little sense in a logical manner , i realised that herzog was just doing that as both a satire on contemporary america as well as humanity where no one is concerned with morality but if it accidentally is encountered and suits the motives than it is blatantly exploited by the protagonists . A special mention for eva mendes as she shines with cage as his drugged out ,prostitue girlfriend who is a matter of fact lover and a professional sex worker . the fact they also introdduced a nameless dog and a african under age kid in the script on ptretext of morality issues ,where the two only innocent bystanders look totally bewildered makes it as darkly humouresque as the lunatic antics of the bad lieutenant ,who virtually indulges in everything from open air crack smoking to harassing and torturing old women and virtually rape on gunpoint in public . all this cannot happen in reality but that it is staged here as a metaphorical optical illusion is both engaging and a behavioural study in human psycology ,but more so it is rather a good movie with a larger than life performance by cage who is compelling to watch and virtually transfixes your vision and suspends your logic for the time spent in the cinema - though great it is not but gratigying it definitely is in no uncertain terms . kudos to pressman for bringing cage and herzog together as everything else we have seen before except for that characteristic bizarre yet charming cop who can make us eat out of his hand as cage .

Rory

Laughed out loud! Great fun. Ignore Mr Mustard and his toss I'm in film wanna be coments!! Just enjoy a glorius fun film!!

Rory

Laughed out loud! Great fun. Ignore Mr Mustard and his toss I'm in film wanna be coments!! Just enjoy a glorius fun film!!

Mick

Somewhere in this 2hr+ movie, there’s a good film. I don’t know whether it’s the slow strum of Southern guitar, but the pace seems a little laboured at times. Nick Cage puts in an excellent performance, as do the rest of the cast. There are some good scenes, but on the whole I feel I’ve seen much better. But I wouldn’t call this is a 5 star movie.

Mick

Somewhere in this 2hr+ movie, there’s a good film. I don’t know whether it’s the slow strum of Southern guitar, but the pace seems a little laboured at times. Nick Cage puts in an excellent performance, as do the rest of the cast. There are some good scenes, but on the whole I feel I’ve seen much better. But I wouldn’t call this is a 5 star movie.

MrMustard

Was very much looking forward to this and was painfully disappointed. Couldn’t see the “juggernaut plot� as TH put it. Instead, I did witness a digressive, stumbling mish mash of incoherence in place of a plot. Now there’s nothing wrong with incoherence in a plot but you need some kind of internal logic at work, as in, well Abel Ferrara’s original Bad Lieutenant (ferociously fuelled by his trash aesthetic and guilt wracked Catholocism) Instead Herzog’s film exists on the surface, all quirk and tics, but hollow inside. Every conversation and confrontation- familial, sexual and criminal- has huge dynamic potential, but the dramatic spark is curiously absent, as if this wasn’t an actual cop thriller but a strange alien simulacrum of one- a proper movie in name but filmed by someone whose never been behind a camera before. Take the opening scene with it’s extraordinary premise : a basement holding cell floods in the aftermath of Katrina, the polluted snake filled water inexorably rises which will eventually drown a lone prisoner locked behind bars. Two cops debate whether to dive in and save his life. One hell of an opening you’d think. But the whole thing is dramatically inert, entirely unconvincing and without a pulse. I’ll throw in that most unsubtle of insults: it looked like a TV movie In the movie’s defense I’ll say this: there’s some standout moments which hint at the surreal hysteria that perhaps Herzog was trying to reach: the celebrated Lynchian alligator accident scene and the hilarious gun toting confrontation with the old ladies. And one last thing, Cage’s performance really is very very good. David Lynch (I think) once said he was the “jazz musician of actors�. Well if his best previous work was be-bop, than Bad Lieutenant is Nic Cage’s ‘Bitches Brew’: wildly uncompromising, delirious and electric.

MrMustard

Was very much looking forward to this and was painfully disappointed. Couldn’t see the “juggernaut plot� as TH put it. Instead, I did witness a digressive, stumbling mish mash of incoherence in place of a plot. Now there’s nothing wrong with incoherence in a plot but you need some kind of internal logic at work, as in, well Abel Ferrara’s original Bad Lieutenant (ferociously fuelled by his trash aesthetic and guilt wracked Catholocism) Instead Herzog’s film exists on the surface, all quirk and tics, but hollow inside. Every conversation and confrontation- familial, sexual and criminal- has huge dynamic potential, but the dramatic spark is curiously absent, as if this wasn’t an actual cop thriller but a strange alien simulacrum of one- a proper movie in name but filmed by someone whose never been behind a camera before. Take the opening scene with it’s extraordinary premise : a basement holding cell floods in the aftermath of Katrina, the polluted snake filled water inexorably rises which will eventually drown a lone prisoner locked behind bars. Two cops debate whether to dive in and save his life. One hell of an opening you’d think. But the whole thing is dramatically inert, entirely unconvincing and without a pulse. I’ll throw in that most unsubtle of insults: it looked like a TV movie In the movie’s defense I’ll say this: there’s some standout moments which hint at the surreal hysteria that perhaps Herzog was trying to reach: the celebrated Lynchian alligator accident scene and the hilarious gun toting confrontation with the old ladies. And one last thing, Cage’s performance really is very very good. David Lynch (I think) once said he was the “jazz musician of actors�. Well if his best previous work was be-bop, than Bad Lieutenant is Nic Cage’s ‘Bitches Brew’: wildly uncompromising, delirious and electric.

jules

Was the scene in the police station were all of his problems are resolved one after the other not meant to be a figment of his imagination!?!? Bizzare film enjoyable but hard to take seriously in my view definatley dosn't warranty 5 stars!

jules

Was the scene in the police station were all of his problems are resolved one after the other not meant to be a figment of his imagination!?!? Bizzare film enjoyable but hard to take seriously in my view definatley dosn't warranty 5 stars!