Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009): B-

According to Lt. McDonagh (Cage), “he has his bad days”.  I’ll tell you right now that’s the understatement of 2009. It’s hard to recall a more horrific cinematic monster in recent years than this snake of a lieutenant that slithers through a broken and flooded New Orleans. Stating that Cage might be the only actor able to pull this performance off isn’t strictly a compliment. He takes a very radical direction and what he lacks for in skill he makes up for in balls. This is no doubt a comeback for Cage, who takes every weakness we’ve seen in him the last few years, amplifies them and turns them into something grotesquely unique.

Herzog takes his time telling the story and even though I was intrigued most of the way through I wasn't feeling that classic Herzog touch. Our very bad lieutenant drifts along in a drug induced rampage as he constantly abuses his job and authority in order to get his fix. When he isn’t hunting down three gang members called Big Fate, Midget and G, he’s mixing drugs with his prostitute girlfriend (Eva Mendes). Technically he’s a loose cannon but he’s more like a loose Colt 45 with a bad attitude and worse cocaine habit. He begins as a cop who’s causing more crime than he’s solving and were he ends is somewhere truly terrifying and hilariously absurd. While it's hypnotic performance and a fun ride, I wasn’t quite buying everything Herzog was selling. The film probably has something to say about Katrina but I’m not ashamed to admit that it went over my head. I’m also fairly certain I don’t want to know what I’m missing. I recommend renting it with friends, but don’t be surprised when the film ends by stamping you on the forehead with a gigantic “What the Fuck”.


  1. Agreed, generally, though I think I'd stick a vertical line in your - and turn it into a B+.

  2. The image was hypnotic, I think. I just love the ballsiness of this movie, Cage, and Herzog.

  3. The entire film was very hypnotic. Cage was great, but I got really into the film for some strange reason even though I didn't necessarily love it.