Neither remake nor sequel to Abel Ferrara’s 1992 work, Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant is an anarchist film noir that seems, at times, almost as unhinged as its protagonist. Fuelled by Nicolas Cage’s delirious performance, its maniacal unpredictability reminds you just how tidy and dull most crime thrillers are these days.
For New Orleans cop McDonagh (Cage), the ordeal begins during Hurricane Katrina, when he injures his back committing a reckless act of decency. For his pains, McDonagh acquires a promotion and a drug habit, which combines with his gambling addiction and his fondness for the company of call-girl Frankie (Mendes) to make him a ripe target for an internal-affairs investigation.
Nutty as the movie sometimes is, its brutality and confusion are never played for laughs. It has a warped sincerity, and an energy that keeps going and going… To the break of dawn!
A.O. Scott, New York Times
Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk