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BAD LIEUTENANT

Director: WERNER HERZOG

122 minutes| U.S.A.| 2009| Colour| D-Cinema


Werner Herzog and Nicolas Cage remaking Abel Ferrara and Harvey Keitel’s classic out-there bad-apple cop movie? Sounds crazy, but, amazingly, it works! The setting is New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, the mood is what one might loosely term ‘gumbo-sleaze’, and the approach from director and leading man alike is far
from cautious.

After doing his back in during an uncharacteristic moment of heroism, Cage’s eponymous lawman augments his medication with sundry non-prescription substances, and although his moral compass seems in danger of disappearing under a mountain of white powder, he remains determined to track down the perpetrator of a drug-related hit in the city’s struggling Senegalese community. Slyly parodying police procedural movies as it goes along – watch out for, erm, the iguanas – this has the hang-loose vibe of some forgotten ’70s gem, but its intimations of what Herzog terms ‘the bliss of evil’ resonate strongly with our own iniquitous times. Cage, funny-serious, is just spot-on. (Notes by Trevor Johnston)

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