Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans DVD
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Directed by Werner Herzog
Produced in 2009
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Neither a sequel nor a remake of Abel Ferrara's bleak 1992 thriller, Werner Herzog’s version is a darkly comic 're-imagining'. Milo Wakelin braves iguanas and a post-hurricane setting.
Never mind the clumsy title, this characteristically offbeat film from Werner Herzog is neither a remake of, or a prequel to, Abel Ferrara's bleak 1992 thriller. Strictly speaking, Bad Lieutenant is a darkly comic 're-imagining', which takes the central character of a corrupt cop, relocates him to post-hurricane New Orleans, and throws in a bunch of iguanas.
Nicholas Cage plays Terence McDonagh, a sharp-dressing police sergeant injured by a reluctant act of heroism: whilst rescuing a prisoner from a flooded police cell, he ruins his suit and throws his back out in the process. Fast forward six months, and McDonagh has been promoted to Lieutenant; his clothes are immaculate, but the walk is crooked - and so is the man. Hooked on prescription painkillers, McDonagh develops a drug habit that is almost heartfelt in its intensity. He hoovers up the contents of suspect's pockets and handbags, crime scenes, and even the police evidence room. His only real friend is his girlfriend, Frankie (Eva Mendes) a prostitute who shares his addictions, and his only family is his alcoholic father, Pat (Tom Bower), who rattles round a dilapidated rural dwelling with his insufferable, beer-swilling partner, Genevieve (Jennifer Coolidge).
Along with his partner, Stevie (Val Kilmer), McDonagh investigates a drug-related murder which leads him to gangland boss Big Fate (Xzibit), but with internal investigations on his tail and a bookie (Brad Dourif) demanding payback, the corrupt cop soon finds himself straying ever further onto the wrong side of the law. Herzog's reputation for mayhem precedes him, but compared to his recent documentary work Bad Lieutenant feels almost restrained, with a narrative that is entertaining but conventional.
Whilst the film is filled with surreal touches, such as a breakdancing corpse or the ever-present lizards, these moments stray into camera, linger briefly, and then depart. Bad Lieutenant's central energy is derived not from Lynchian imagery, but from Nicholas Cage's fearless Performance, which achieves levels of unbridled mania few actors could credibly depict (and few directors would dare portray). His shoulders hunched, his eyes wide, a massive revolver stuffed precariously into his belt, McDonagh lurches around New Orleans in a drug-fuelled hurricane, threatening witnesses, demanding sex from suspects, terrorising old ladies, and tearing through any remaining levees of restraint. The film's other star is New Orleans itself.
The production relocated to Louisiana almost as an afterthought (encouraged by generous tax breaks), but, in hindsight, the post-Katrina setting is a fitting backdrop to a tale of a devastated man who, despite his worst instincts, is struggling to get back on his feet.
Milo Wakelin on 26th August 2010
Author of 105 reviews
Werner Herzog directs this darkly comic thriller loosely based on Abel Ferrara's 1992 film 'Bad Lieutenant' (although Herzog claims to have never watched the original film!)
Nicolas Cage stars as corrupt cop Terrence McDonagh, a recently-promoted police detective in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, who approaches both his job and his escalating drug habit with instinctive abandon. Playing fast and loose with the law, McDonagh channels his manic energy into investigating the death of a family of Senagalese immigrants and taking on local drug kingpin Big Fate (Xzibit). Eva Mendes co-stars as McDonagh's troubled prostitute girlfriend, Frankie.
Length: 122 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 27th September 2010
Cat No: LGD94263
- Interviews: Cast and Crew