Can’t believe Nicholas Cage takes the role of the Lieutenant in the last enterprise directed by Werner Herzog, I think this is sort of insult to both Harvey Keitel and Abel Ferrara, in fact the acclaimed director has expressed his discontent for this new portrait of his film.
Bad Lieutenant is just a frightening ride into the darkest and most bizarre hidden New York through the actions of a vicious lieutenant (Harvey Keitel).
This is the story of a cop, Catholic and father of four children, focused on self-destruction. Basically, he uses the authority of his position and badge to obtain money, sex and drugs for free. Everything goes fine until he starts losing bets in baseball series, begging for double the amount for the next game so he can pay the Italian mafia guys he owes.
At this point he’ll start falling into a downward spiral, getting him involved in such bizarre and dark situations he won’t be able to escape from easy predictable fate.
Really, there’s nothing else to highlight in the plot, it’s very simple and not very solid, sequence after sequence you get shocked for what he’s capable of doing, and he’s totally a wreck and doesn’t give a shit about the rest of the world. You hate the lieutenant for being such an asshole
Abel Ferrara’s portrait of the lieutenant is extreme, the cop shoots heroin, smokes crack, sniffs cocaine in front of his kids’ Catholic school, dances with whores and harass young ladies without driving license. He’s just a son of a bitch, waiting to take advantage on anybody and anything, no matter whether he can get caught. Seems that he’s lost common sense taking constant risks without blinking.
Harvey Keitel’s performance is something to be remembered and recognized by all film lovers as it’s a hard role to play and not very correct to the eyes of American conservative audience.
Not sure whether to consider Bad Lieutenant a great movie, in fact it is not, Harvey Keitel rules, and seems that the film was designed to enhance his quality as an established actor, with many scenes to highlight, but apart from that there’s nothing else interesting and good enough to add value to the film, just his acting.
The rest of characters are not important, even the story doesn’t focus on his relationship with his family, nor with his lover (just shooting pals), colleagues or enemies…
Gotta review other Ferrara’s movie The King of New York, with Christopher Walken, which also left me a bit cold after hearing so many good reviews.
Anyway, if you want to see a weird and bizarre story or enjoy with Harvey Keitel, this is definitely the movie, if not, you might be wasting your time.