Bad Lieutenant was for me at the bottom of a long list of films to watch for quite sometime, i'd seen Ferrara's debut feature, The Driller Killer and was rather disappointed.
Now I have thankfully watching this teriffic film about Catholic guilt and redemption.
Many people have complained about the extreme nature of the film, but without this the huge contrast needed would have been lost. that said, it can be a difficult watch and you will probably feel a little dirty after watching it.
Harvey Keitel gives a superb performance as the title character, he is very raw and very emotional, drawing you in uncomfortably close to his world. but you can't help but feel at times that he is some level above the abilities of the rest of the cast, not that they are bad, it's just the raw power of Keitel's performance does tend to overshadow his supporting cast.
Ferarra's direction is typically raw, sometimes feeling a little sloppy, as the story does have a tendency to wander, although it all draws together by the end and your not left wondering what a scene was all about, the roughness of the film does lend it a certain realism and has an ability to be more personal that often gets lost in bigger budget productions.
I won't bother going into the details of the story, some of the other reviews and the Amazon synopsis have covered that.
In closing, this is an amazingly powerful and personal film from Ferrara, exploring his own life and feelings of guilt growing up in a catholic neighbourhood, with some great performances all round, but due to the nature of some of the content it unfortunately won't be for everyone.