Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

USA, 2009, 121 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Crime, Detective/Mystery, Drama, Social Issues, Substance Abuse
Language: English

MUST END Thursday, January 28th
35mm presentation - Ravaged city, ravaged man. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, corrupt cop Terence McDonagh, beautifully played by Nicolas Cage, hobbles around a devastated New Orleans burdened by a badly injured back, fierce addictions to Vicodin and cocaine, and a crazed dedication to his job that eats away at him like another desperate habit. When McDonagh’s not trying to bring down a dangerous crime boss, he’s ripping off small-time drug dealers to augment his own stash, pulling his gun on an old ladies in rest homes, and imagining iguanas crawling on his coffee table.

With this remake, venerable German auteur Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo; Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Rescue Dawn, SDFF 29) has infuriated fellow director Abel Ferrara, who set the original Bad Lieutenant in 1992 on the streets of New York. In the Ferrara version, Harvey Keitel was the cop wallowing in a world of hurt, plagued by Catholic guilt but still snorting coke off his daughter’s First Communion card. Cage, by contrast, is Dirty Harry on crack (literally), breaking all the rules and still sharp enough to rag his paunchy sidekick (Val Kilmer) with dark jokes one moment and try to save his troubled girlfriend, prostitute Eva Mendes, the next. “Shoot him again,” he orders during a confrontation with one bad guy. “His soul is still dancing.”

For Herzog, such behavioral extremes have always been the order of the day, in his characters and in himself. This is, after all, a filmmaker who once leapt naked onto a bed of cactus spines to demonstrate the depth of his commitment to cast and crew (never mind the time he ate his shoe upon losing a bet). The outcries of Abel Ferrara and the film cultists who love the original Bad Lieutenant have apparently not disturbed him one bit.

DIRECTOR: Werner Herzog
Producer: Stephen Belafonte, Nicolas Cage,Alan Polsky, Gabe Polsky, Edward R. Pressman, John Thompson
Editor: Joe Bini
Screenwriter: William M. Finkelstein
Cinematographer: Peter Zeitlinger
Principal Cast: Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, Eva Mendes, Fairuza Balk, Jennifer Coolidge, Brad Dourif
US Distributor: First Look Studios

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