I’ve barely watched any movies the last few weeks, as I try to catch up with TV series. Finally got to one, though:
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog, 2009). I wondered why anyone thought Abel Ferrara’s original needed a remake, but Herzog assures us his film has nothing to do with the earlier one, other than featuring a drug-addicted policeman. Nicolas Cage has the Harvey Keitel title role, and it’s instructive to compare how the two actors approach mania. Actually, Keitel is more liable to tilt towards scene chewing than he is to utter chaos. That’s Cage’s area. Who would have thought, when Cage ate a live cockroach in the weird Vampire’s Kiss, that we were getting a preview of the rest of Cage’s career. OK, not every Cage role is bonkers, but he certainly seems to have an affinity for them. It would seem that pairing him with Werner Herzog would guarantee a true oddity, and I suppose this is odd, but it’s not surprising in its oddness. I mean, Cage’s Lieutenant does some outrageous things, and you can’t necessarily predict them, but you can predict that those things will happen, whatever they turn out to be. The movie is never boring ... not with a hero taking vicodin and oxy and crack and heroin, hallucinating iguanas, getting in deep with bookies and Xzibit as a drug kingpin, and generally freaking out as only Nicolas Cage can. Some say this is a comedy. Some interesting people turn up in the cast, but they barely matter next to Cage. #547 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century. 7/10, although your tolerance for Cage on crack might lead you to translate “7” as “6” or “8”.