Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitch black twisted comedy genius, 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: Bad Lieutenant [DVD] (DVD)
Spoilers!

Check out all the reviews on here that miss the point: Bad Lieutenant (a title Herzog was forced to adopt) is a twisted comedy and nothing to do with the 1992 film of the same name. Want to know something else? This Bad Lieutenant is - in a lot of ways - better than the Keitel version. And this coming from somebody who was convinced this film would stink. Badly.

And the recipe for disaster is all here: a loose interpretation (oh, heck, let's use 're-imagining') of the classic '92 version (intended to be a modern day gospel for the director to explore sin, guilt and Catholic redemption), an almost unheard of screenwriter and Nic Cage. Who hasn't made a decent film, or given a credible performance since 'Bringing out the Dead.' And yet, the film is brilliant.

As Herzog says, it's all about the 'bliss of sin' and how a bad man, loves doing bad, and actually prospers from doing it. Come on, hands up, who honestly thought he'd make the end credits in one piece? Nah, me neither, and yet he does and the punchline is staggering. A bleak dose of such incredible perversity that I had a huge smile across my face. 'Bliss of sin' indeed.

Herzog's direction is solid. Bill Finklestein's screenplay is a fantastic tangle of plot threads, black humour and 'game raising' madness, setting up the only possible outcome before pulling the rug from under you with delicious plot twisting relish that a) takes the mickey with bare faced cheek and b) gets clean away with it, because it actually fits right in with the manic, spiralling out of control chaos raging about Cage's character.

And what about Nicholas Cage? His accent wanders slightly, but his performance holds the film together. I can't imagine anybody else playing this role. It's a beautiful, insane performance. He IS the Bad Lieutenant.

So why is this better than the '92 version? Well, despite it's gritty look and blazing performance by Keitel, it is an incredibly naive film about a man who, for no real reason, has a vision of Christ (because he's Catholic? So what?) and attempts to redeem himself before his own crucifixion. Cage's character is flat out BAD - not evil - just utterly amoral and immoral by nature. And in being this way, he solves crimes, gets the girl, the house, the promotions and the power to do, pretty much, whatever he wants. For him, it works. He's seduced and will never change.

I mean, did you honestly think he'd take the waiter's offer at the end?
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Jun 2011 14:03:22 BDT
Caligula II. says:
Nope certainly NOT better than the orginal!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2011 22:31:33 BDT
Ian Armer says:
Hahaha, look I COMPLETELY understand your point of view - I love the original - but I prefer this take on it for various reasons. Although, obviously, Keitel's performance is infinitely superior....
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Ian Armer
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Location: Lancashire, United Kingdom

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