Keitel turns in what might be his best-ever performance in this monstrously ugly tale of moral corruption. There's no easy moment in the 90 minutes of this film. It veers from bad to worse to despair, charting the downfall of a corrupt cop who revels in every addiction going.
Watching Bad Lieutenant wasn't an entirely enjoyable experience -- although the film-making is to be applauded alongside Keitel's jaw-dropping depiction of a man on the brink. The spiral into awfulness makes for grim viewing, however. It's also one of those films with a paper-thin plot: the action is almost entirely character driven and bounces from one isolated scene to another with little to connect them apart from the self-destructive urges of the central character. The filming is remarkable, too, full of murky stairwells. peeling paint and dark corridors shot in a realistic manner. Sometimes, though, the viewer isn't entirely sure what is real and what is an hallucination.
UK viewers may struggle a little to understand what's going on with the baseball games (and these form a core of the story as they are what the cop is gambling on). You shoudl also check that you're getting a modern DVD with the extras and full-screen film. We saw an older version and had to watch it shrunk within goalposts, and the sound quality was desperate on that version.
Also, be aware that this film is extremely explicit in the sex, drugs and, erm, sex n drugs departments.
Not nice in the slightest, but very impressive film-making.