Bad Lieutenant

Film, Drama

Time Out says

Keitel is the depraved and corrupt New York cop of the title. Hooked on crack, heroin and alcohol, he's up to his eyeballs in debt and staking his life on the Dodgers - and they're starting to lose. Perversely, the appalling rape of a nun proffers salvation: a $50,000 reward to find the perpetrator. The film isn't so much a thriller as a slice of (low-) life. The script is cut to the bone, the set-ups have a vérité feel, while the editing mimics real time in long, nearly unwatchable sequences in which Keitel shoots up, or masturbates before two teenage girls. Ferrara allows his star to dictate the pace, and is rewarded with a performance of extraordinary, terrifying honesty. This is an actor laying himself bare before the camera/confessor. Astonishingly, Ferrara ups the ante. Out of degradation, he pulls redemption. It is a jarring stroke, and will divide audiences who have stayed with the film this far. It seems to me that Ferrara is an artist of the profane; his Catholicism looks suspiciously like a Scorsese hand-me-down. In this exploitation/art movie, it may just be that the truth is in the sleaze.

By: TCh


Release details

96 mins

Cast and crew

Abel Ferrara
Abel Ferrara, Zoe Lund
Zoe Lund
Frankie Thorn
Robin Burrows
Anthony Ruggiero
Victor Argo
Harvey Keitel
Victoria Bastel
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