Directed by Werner Herzog
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A drug-addicted cop will do anything to find his next fix.
“Let’s clear up” any confusion, said Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe and Mail. This film “is not remotely a remake” of Bad Lieutenant that was directed by Abel Ferrara and starred Harvey Keitel. That “famously brutal and bleak” film was about a drug-addicted New York cop. This one is set in New Orleans. Where Keitel was merely unhinged, Nicolas Cage often seems nearly possessed, said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. The actor hasn’t freaked out like this on film since Leaving Las Vegas, but “no one is better at this kind of performance.” With eyes bugging out and an off-the-charts energy level, he “creates a dire portrait” of a man who’ll rape, murder, and rampage to keep his buzz going. At times Cage’s suffering seems “so palpable, you’d consider slipping him drugs yourself,” said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. Director Werner Herzog leavens the intensity with oddball humor and beautiful, if arbitrary, images of Louisiana wildlife. From Fitzcarraldo to Grizzly Man, Herzog has been a filmmaker whose best films are about “men in crisis,” and this Bad Lieutenant is no exception.
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