Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie Review - Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Whatever you do, don't call this a remake. Herzog will kick your ass.

To call Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans a remake of the 1992 Harvey Keitel vehicle is misleading, especially since Herzog has never seen the it.  Herzog’s version is flat out trippy, almost goofy, and at times a work of genius that uses genre as seduction before crushing audience expectation. Morbidly funny with performances ranging from raw and unrehearsed to maniacally crafted and hypnotizing, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is brilliant and only faintly resembles the more dramatic “original.” 

For over 40 years Herzog has challenged traditional narrative filmmaking and more recently he has ventured into Hollywood territory.  From Grizzly Man, his award winning and fascinating documentary of the life and death of amateur bear expert Timothy Treadwell to 2006’s Vietnam era prisoner of war story Rescue Dawn starring Christian Bale, Herzog has continued to push when it comes to audience expectations and the constraints of genre.  Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans stars Nicolas Cage as a good cop turned drug addict who’s still trying to get the job done (and get his next fix) and is a provocative antidote to the standard dirty cop flick.