The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

Bad_lieutenant

Genre: Drama

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer

Synopsis: Nicolas Cage plays a drug addicted cop who must solve the murder of five illegal immigrants will ingesting a cocktail of narcotics.

Just when you think Nicolas Cage is the worst thing since syphilis he goes and does something which really impresses you. Cage should thank the Lord that this movie came his way because it provided him with the perfect opportunity to prove that he can still act. Of course, he’s essentially playing a pill-addicted maniac who has no sense of shame….so about as close to Nicolas Cage as you can get without actually being Nicolas Cage. Still, even without Cage’s general craziness, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans surprised me in a lot of ways. It’s a trippy and well thought out crime drama.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself: “I’ve seen The Wicker Man. How much more crazy can Nicolas Cage possibly get in a movie?” Well, the answer to that is “a lot.” You have not seen Nicolas Cage at his craziest until you have seen him smoke crack and pound some ho in a car park in front of her boyfriend who he has just robbed. You have not seen Nicolas Cage at his craziest until you have seen him assault two old grandmas, almost killing one. You have not seen Nicolas Cage at his craziest until you have seen him hallucinate a couple of singing iguanas. Hopefully that last paragraph will have acted as a window into the crazy brilliance of Nicolas Cage in this film. If you’re like me and you love Nicolas Cage doing crazy shit then you cannot miss this film.

If for some reason you’re not the sort of person who loves Nicolas Cage doing crazy shit, then there’s still a lot about this movie you can enjoy. For starters, the film has a complex and engrossing plot which is presented in kind of gritty “LA noire” way, only it’s set in New Orleans. Post-Katrina New Orleans is the perfect place to set a movie as crazy and beautiful as this one. It has this faded and, at times, grim beauty to it and it perfectly complements the main character’s descent into addiction and general implosion. Another thing to enjoy is the trippy shit. This is a movie that was made for drug use…as evidenced by Nicolas Cage’s constant drug use in the film. Seriously, you see him put a lot of crap up his nose. If you watch this movie high you will be treated to some strange psychedelic scenes like singing lizards and magnificently pretty fish. Weed really adds another fun dimension to this film.

The interesting thing about this movie is that it feels like it has a message. The trouble is, I don’t quite know what that message is. At times the message felt environmental, looking at nature’s interaction with New Orleans. At other times, the message felt human, examining one man’s sorry attempts at redemption. Whatever the message is, I was surprised by the film’s depth and Nicolas Cage’s ability to handle his role. Anybody who has said that Nicolas Cage is a bad actor should watch this movie. I just hope he makes more movies like this in future.

High-lights:

  • Nicolas Cage snorts coke, painkillers and smokes a whole lot of crack. This scene was a particular favourite.
  • The singing iguanas.
  • Beautifully trippy moments with fish.
  • The scene where the lady begs Nicolas Cage to find her family’s murderers was really heart breaking and intense.

Downers:

  • Eva Mendes is the weak link in the acting chain.
  • Those poor grandmas.

Summary:

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is easily Nicolas Cage’s best movie in recent years. The movie is funny, exciting, and at times beautiful and it has accomplished the impossible: it has restored my faith in Nicolas Cage as an actor. For these reasons, this movie should not be missed. I assume the movie is just as good sober as it is high but to make the most of its psychedelic craziness, you really should put that Mary Jane cherry on top of this WTF Nicolas Cage sundae.

8.5/10

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5 Comments

Filed under Drama, Great

5 responses to “The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

  1. Abbi

    Nic Cage is always at his best playing batshit crazy. I didn’t like this as much as you did but it was a rare return to form for Cage especially if you consider turds like Knowing.

  2. I have decided the next movie I want to see is Face/Off. It’s the movie where Nicolas Cage plays John Travolta trying to play Nicolas Cage.

    • Hahahaha that is the best description of that movie I have ever heard. It’s such a classic. I did a review of it a while back and, if I remember correctly, I was blown away by its sheer craziness.

  3. This movie’s pretty nutty, but Herzog and Cage find ways to make it always interesting to watch and see how it all plays out. it also seems like they were a match made-in-heaven, allowing the two to just throw whatever they could at the other, and have a ball while doing so. Good review.

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