BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL-
NEW ORLEANS may seem like a remake of the Abel Ferrara film on the surface, but you realize it’s
not that once you watched this unhinged vision from director Werner Herzog. There
are so many differences between the two BAD LIEUTENANT films that they go in so many different directions from each other. The only thing that the films share is a bad lieutenant who uses drugs, gambles
on sports, and has a prostitute girlfriend while investigating a murder. The
rest of both films are different from each other including location and the way each film ends.
Nicolas Cage is corrupt police New Orleans
Lieutenant Terence McDonagh who suffers back pain due to a jump he made into the water to save a prisoner from drowning during
Hurricane Katrina. He takes prescribed drugs and some illegal drugs to help get
through the pain. He has developed a gambling habit and fallen in love with a
prostitute named Frankie (Eva Mendes). Six months after Hurricane Katrina,
he is investigating the murder of five illegals. He and his partner, Stevie,
(Val Kilmer who is criminally underused in this film) work to prove that Big Fate (Alvin
‘Xzibit’ Joiner), a big criminal boss who controls part of the drugs in New Orleans,
ordered the murder. The lieutenant plays loose with the law as he descends
deeper in a black world where morality doesn’t matter as much as long as he gets the bad guy.
Nicolas Cage pulls off a spellbinding
performance as a crazy lieutenant who may never redeem himself or want to be redeemed.
Eva Mendes flows better with Cage in this film than they ever did in GHOST RIDER.
Werner Herzog brings his own unique vision to BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL- NEW ORLEANS even though I question the
iguana and alligator montages (which one could have done without). However,
Cage is the pilot of this movie as Herzog directs Cage’s Character straight into hell.
Herzog shows New Orleans as a character upon itself- a place recovering
and rebuilding while the police seek to look good in the eyes of the public. It
is filmed as a bleak place while anything outside of New Orleans is filmed in
Cage shows off how violent and eccentric
McDonagh is in this film while Harvey Keitel shows his corrupt lieutenant as someone who is a mean and twisted while knowing
how screwed up he is (in Ferrara’s BAD LIEUTENANT). McDonagh sometimes
is beyond caring and just rolls with it. Each version of BAD LIEUTENANT
should be appreciated for what the actors and directors bring to it. Ferrara’s
original is like a train wreck you can’t help watching while Herzog’s version is a film that makes you wonder
what crazy thing Cage will do next.
A digital photography book by Lena Herzog
offers a set of interesting stills shot during the production. THE MAKING
OF BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL- NEW ORLEANS is part making-of featurette/ part video diary.
Witness how rain causes delays on two days of the shoot, Val Kilmer giving his best impersonation of Herzog, and Cage
mentioning how Herzog needed his iguana montage.
Also on the disc are the theatrical and
alternate theatrical trailers for the film in addition to trailers for TRIANGLE, DOUBLE IDENTITY (starring Val Kilmer), POLAR
STORM, and VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE (Sarah Michelle Gellar doing another off-beat independent film).
FINAL ANALYSIS: BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL- NEW ORLEANS is an unhinged and fantastic film about the morality of a cop
who is trying to do his job.
This DVD review is (c)4-9-2010 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org