McDonagh juggles his police work -- he's good at it, no doubt -- with the procurement of cocaine from the prop room and his prostitute girlfriend's (Eva Mendes) clients. He's more interested in opiates than sex with Fairuza Balk, extorts crack from late-night club hoppers, and doesn't hesitate to deprive nursing home residents of oxygen to solicit answers. Clearly, this is a role tailor-made for the bug-eyed energy of Nicolas Cage.
While Keitel's Lieutenant terrorized a hard-boiled New York City, Cage's incarnation haunts post-Katrina New Orleans. Shot in a gritty style far from the touristy, sun-dappled gaze of, say, the 1986 Dennis Quaid vehicle The Big Easy, the city here appears every bit as ravaged and heedless as McDonagh himself. The film's trailer highlights hilarious hijinx, but what surprised me most about Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans were the whiplash turns from outrageousness to deeply felt pain and despair. All the madcap drug binges and mysterious reptiles can't disguise the very real wounds suffered under these ominous, storm-swept skies.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New OrleansStarring: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Xzibit, Fairuza Balk
Directed by: Werner Herzog
Produced by: Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short
Running Time: 2 hrs. 1 min.
Release Date: November 20th, 2009 (NY/LA)
Distributors: First Look Pictures
Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.