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Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Brit Report: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

First, we need to set some things straight. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (terrible title) has no relation whatsoever with Ferrara's masterpiece, apart from the central thing of a junkie, violent, gambler cop. It's a much lighter piece, with lots of sarcasm in its core. It's also a great ride.

Werner Herzog, a really bizarre directing choice, brings out the best in Nicolas Cage, in a performance reminding of the good-old days of Wild at Heart, Raising Arizona, and Red Rock West. He's completely over the top as the titular character, but also manages to be believable and makes the audience root for him. There are several set pieces (a 2.5min music video with Cage's character staring at two iguanas, a funny-as-hell confrontation with two old ladies) that will serve as points of reference for Cage from now on. He also gets excellent support from Eva Mendes as his prostitute/girlfriend, Val Kilmer as an even more psychotic cop, and Brad Dourif as his suffering bookie. Herzog directs full of confidence, despite being at a strange territory for him, and still manages to deliver some typical Herzogian shots (a handheld sequence with an alligator near a motorway really stands out). All in all, the movie got a great response from the audience, and comes highly recommended.

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