Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reptile Cam + Crack Pipe + Soul Dancing + Wet Underpants = Bad Lieutenant

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) - Herzog
Bad Lieutenant is perhaps the best comedy I've seen in a long time. Cage, like Kinski in Aguirre and Bruno S. in Kaspar Hauser before him, is born to play Terence McDonagh, a decorated, coked up New Orleans cop whose path, by all indications, points straight to an early grave. Cage is in his top form. Under the firm hands of Herzog, his usual overacting comes across as funny and even endearing. Clocking at lean mean 2 hours, Port of Call New Orleans has no fat and is dry as a feather in its post-Katrina setting. As McDonagh goes on solving the homicide case while digging a hole for himself that seems to be getting deeper by the minute, we are presented with delightful moments like Cage threatening to shoot old ladies in the head at a retirement home blaming them for the downturn of America, hilarious lizards cam and of course, the soul dancing scene.

Herzog's take on Bad Lieutenant far exceeds its typical film noir trappings. First, it's lol funny. And unlike its Coen Bros' or countless Elmore Leonard adaptations counterparts, Bad Lieutenant doesn't feel slick or premeditated at all. It's loose, playful and goofy. McDonagh's ambiguous morality has no heavy handed message and sans self righteous attitude of Travis Bickle. Herzog must've taken the opportunity to make a satire of the faux seriousness of its namesake original. With great supporting cast including scrumtious Eva Mendez, hot-in-uniform Feruza Balk, scene stealing Shea Whigham(of the Wrist Cutters), rapper-cum-actor Xzibit and wired bookie Brad Douriff, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is definitely one of my favorites this year.

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