The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Directed by Werner Herzog
Running time: 122 minutes
Described in The New York Times as an “anarchist film noir”, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) is Werner Herzog's dangerous and unpredictable take on the crime movie genre, a surreal tale about a corrupt police officer, set in a bleak, post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. The film's title recalls Abel Ferrara's cult movie The Bad Lieutenant (1992), which starred Harvey Keitel as a drug-addicted New York police officer, enraging both die-hard fans of the original as well as Ferrara himself, who was openly angry at Herzog's release. But, in characteristically reticent fashion, Herzog claims that he has never seen Ferrara's film and that his movie is neither a sequel nor a remake of that dark vision, but rather a “rethought”. Despite this, however, both films share the same producer as well as a couple of key elements in common, although Herzog's take is more darkly humorous and than Ferrara's study in pure horror. Starring Nicholas Cage in arguably the best role of his career, Eva Mendes and Val Kilmer, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, despite its deliberately bemusing choice of title, was rated one of the best movies of 2009 as well as one of the best of the decade. Terence McDonough (Cage) is a wayward police sergeant addicted to pain killers, cocaine and heroin after a back injury incurred during the rescue of a drowning prisoner during the storm. Mcdonagh clings to his sense of duty and his professionalism even as his paranoia starts to drive him over the edge. He gambles and steals but still takes care of his dog, loves his girlfriend Frankie (Mendes) a high-class escort also addicted to coke, and is still connected to his father. A promotion to lieutenant leads him to investigate a murder scene where five illegal immigrants from Senegal have been killed, but, after an entanglement with drug dealer 'Big Fate', he begins a wild and hallucinatory slide into ruin. A mesmerizing movie driven by an hypnotic performance from Cage, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is Herzog's unhinged masterpiece, an American movie without compromise.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.