Film

Bad Lieutenant: Port of call New Orleans

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Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes see the light.
Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Details

Bad Lieutenant: Port of call New Orleans
Four stars
Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer.
Directed by Werner Herzog.
Rated R.
Opens Friday.
Beyond the Weekly
Bad Lieutenant: Port of call New Orleans
IMDb: Bad Lieutenant: Port of call New Orleans
Rotten Tomatoes: Bad Lieutenant: Port of call New Orleans

Most of the blab about Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans has been about whether or not it’s a remake and whether or not it holds up to the original 1992 film. The truth is that aside from the fact that both films are about bad lieutenants, they have very little in common. What people should be talking about is that one crazed maverick director, Werner Herzog, has made a comparable film to that of another crazed maverick director, Abel Ferrara, and that both films are extraordinary. Even better, the new film shares much in common with some of Herzog’s crazed past masterworks, including Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982), with an outrageous, demented Nicolas Cage filling in for the outrageous, demented Klaus Kinski.

New Orleans cop Terence McDonagh (Cage) injures his back while rescuing a soon-to-be-drowned prisoner during Hurricane Katrina. Enduring constant pain, he becomes addicted to painkillers and other drugs and begins behaving very badly (though he was no prize before, either). While hunting a murderer, he visits his prostitute girlfriend Frankie (Mendes), steals drugs from the evidence room, upsets some gangsters, loses a bet with a local bookie, blackmails a football player and forms an alliance with a local thug. After a laundry list like this, Herzog still has the audacity to muck around with Hollywood’s obsession with “redemption,” and the road to that rocky point will leave viewers’ jaws on the floor. When they’re not laughing maniacally, that is.

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