- 14 Jun 10
Blistering, sleazy and entertaining as hell
Blistering, sleazy and entertaining as hell, Werner Herzog's bizarre remake of Abel Ferrera's 1992 cult standard – Herr Herzog, predictably, has never seen the original – is even more demented than you might have supposed. Nicolas Cage, in the kind of form that makes his turn in Wild At Heart look restrained, plays McDonagh, the eponymous crooker copper, a crack-smoking, whore-frequenting, drug-dealing, evidence-raiding police sergeant cruising the streets of New Orleans. Striking the same feverish pitch as Scorsese's After Hours, Bad Lieutenant gets going just as our hero's schemes and pastimes are starting to unravel. When his prostitute girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes) is clobbered by a client, a crazed McDonagh takes after him and only worsens the situation. Meanwhile, six Senegalese immigrants have been slaughtered in a gangland killing, prompting an investigation into criminal kingpin, Big Fate, an investigation McDonagh hopes he can work to his advantage. But can he beat the odds before his bookie or internal affairs catch up with him? Played with all knobs up to 11, Bad Lieutenant is the G-man picture Douglas Sirk might have made - a heightened, brilliantly thrilling cop flick that loathes and loves both hero and genre with equal ferocity. Any number of small twisted moments would, alone, make this mandatory viewing; Eva Mendes' metamorphosis into a house-frau, Jennifer Coolidge's drunken stepmom, the final Scarface-worthy showdown – but the picture belongs to Mr. Cage who twists his frame into a hunchback to better articulate his moral decrepitude. It's trash, of course, but trash of the very best and knowing variety.