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Jambalaya, Anyone? The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans review!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans 2009William M. FinkelsteinWerner HerzogNicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val KilmerAbel Ferrara Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans(2009)
 

The sequel/re-imagination bug has appears to have bitten the artsy world of indie cinema with 2009’s “The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans,” a new take on 1992’s underappreciated “Bad Lieutenant.” The original film, directed by veteran filmmaker Abel Ferrara with a blitz performance by Harvey Keitel, was a sublime study of an authority figure’s fall into the very vices he’s swore to prevent. Ferrara’s brutally earnest tragedy hardly seems apt to spawn a sequel. In the hands of German auteur Werner Herzog, “The Bad Lieutenant” series is reborn as an eccentric dark comedy about the extremes of an officer left unchecked.

In this new spin, Nicolas Cage is corrupt cop Terence McDonagh in post-Katrina New Orleans. Following Keitel’s lead, Cage is a cocaine-sniffing pervert rummaging Nola’s underworld for the killer of a Senegalese immigrant family. When McDonagh is not hunting the culprit on an angel dust high with his equally shady partner Stevie (Val Kilmer), he finds time to visit his escort girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes), sometimes while she's pulling tricks. His vices aside, McDonagh’s criminal tendencies make him the right man for the case, as all leads follow drug kingpin “Big Fate” (Xzibit). But with just a scared boy as the main witness, McDonagh has no margin for error.

Werner Herzog has always shown an empathy for the social deviant with big dreams and tyrannical methods, most prominent in “Aguirre: The Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo.” Herzog is an advocate of men driven by their deepest ambitions and transgressions (see Les Blank’s “Burden of Dreams”).

Nicolas Cage, who has lost his reputation as a credible actor with some terrible career choices (not the bees!), uses his tendency to overact and it serves his McDonagh well. In one of the maliciously funny scenes we’ve seen in a while, McDonagh, in search of information on his missing witness, yanks the respirator from an elderly woman while her nurse watches helplessly. Cage hasn’t been this vicious or thrilling in quite some time. Sadly, he’s back to garbage like the upcoming “Ghost Rider 2.” Blah.

“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” loses its way towards the second act. The focus on McDonagh’s deviancy pushes aside the murder investigation to where it becomes an afterthought. The film’s deux a machina resolution might be too preposterous even for Herzog. Perhaps Herzog wanted to forgive his anti-hero so badly that he forgot redemption should be an earned achievement, not a tepid gift. However, Herzog and Cage are a duo that deserves each other, and while their “Bad Lieutenant” doesn’t have the dramatic power of Ferrara’s film, this trip to the birthplace of jazz is as interesting and fiery as a bowl of hot gumbo.

Trailer:

Official website:
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans

Pics:
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans2009William M. FinkelsteinWerner HerzogNicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val KilmerAbel Ferrara  The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans2009William M. FinkelsteinWerner HerzogNicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val KilmerAbel Ferrara  The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans2009William M. FinkelsteinWerner HerzogNicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val KilmerAbel Ferrara  The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans2009William M. FinkelsteinWerner HerzogNicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val KilmerAbel Ferrara  The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans2009William M. FinkelsteinWerner HerzogNicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val KilmerAbel Ferrara 

Credits:
Directed by: Werner Herzog
Written by: William M. Finkelstein
Based on work(s) by: Abel Ferrara
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer


Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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