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Friday, October 08, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans

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

Director: Werner Herzog

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Drugs, sex, violence… Terrence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) loves em all because he’s bad – a wrong un, a dodgy geezer who thinks nothing of killing, extorting and forcing sexual favours from whoever he pleases, oh, and he’s a cop.

Yes, the ‘Bad Lieutenant’ in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is a very very bad cop. He’s not Dixon of Dot Green, that’s for sure… So our hero rogue detective goes ape in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina blowing second shockwave of drug addicted fury through New Orleans.

Eva Mendes stars as Frankie Donnenfeld - the high class hooker / love of his life for whom McDonagh will do pretty much anything. She makes an interesting foil to Cage’s over-the-top-and-then-a-bit-more-over-the-top with her drug craving but more moderate existence.

Director Werner ‘Rescue Dawn’ Herzog drives the movie over the edge of sanity at a million miles an hour and the engine is Cage's central performance that is mesmerising.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans's script might be fairly run of the mill bad cop on a self-destructive whirlwind but Cage succeeds in giving Terence McDonagh a heart and even in making you root for him despite his wrongness. Seeing him rescuing a prisoner from certain death at the beginning (and moaning about ruining his expensive underpants as in the process) sets up his credentials as guy with some goodness left in him.

So when you see the Bad Lieutenant promoted to Captain whilst still hopelessly addicted to cocaine and painkillers – most of which he steals from police property repository you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The film goes nicely surreal at points too with superb ‘iguana and alligator’ POV camerawork as McDonagh starts seeing things and freaking out. E.g. after a bad guy is shot he shouts: “Shoot him again.” When asked “What for?” he says: “His soul is still dancing.” and sure enough we see the man’s soul dancing manically whilst McDonagh laughs hysterically. I found it all very very pleasing and was surprised to be loving every moment.

The DVD extras include some cast and crew interviews, but pick of the bunch is a very unique and interesting ‘making of’ documentary that tracks the shooting of the film and highlights some rather wacky elements of production.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is on the streets now and is necessary viewing for anyone who likes their cop thrills, dark, funny and freaky. Make your next port of call New Orleans!!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 criminal actions out of 10)

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