Ron Rosenbaum

See The Bad Lieutenant--Even If...

…it doesn’t equal the sordid extremity of the original film by that title, the one starring Harvey Keitel in an amazing portrait of dissolution and directed by Abel Ferarra. I have to admit, I loved that film for all the wrong reasons. It made any of my own indiscretions seem mild by comparison. Even though it has one of the most uncompromising downer scripts in history, I saw it as a kind of feel-good movie. I don’t want to mislead anybody. It’s not a date night movie. It’s an “I’ll never sink >thatlow movie, which to my mind is an upbeat message.

It’s not clear if the new movie directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nic Cage (subtitled “Port of Call New Orleans”) is meant to be a remake, a sequel, an homage or what. But in some ways despite its cult director, it’s far more conventional than the Keitel movie. Still it’s far more unconventional than almost anything else made by mainstream movie makers and it’s immensely entertaining. And it preserves something of the guilty pleasure or pleasurable guilt to be found in the message of the first: we may or not be the captains of our fate but we’re all Bad Lieutenants of our souls.

I’d still like to see a re make of the original. Starring Christopher Walken.