Thursday, 3 June 2010

Cinema review: 'Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans' directed by Werner Herzog, starring Nicolas Cage

This good cop/bad cop movie is more reminiscent of David Lynch, whose involvement in the project is unspecified and apparent, down to the jive talking surrealists and their chameleon visions - and than any of his previous work. That said, Nicolas Cage is at his maddest and most affecting in the lead role and one can imagine Cage and Herzog in a creative partnership in the way the latter once enjoyed and endured with his best fiend, Klaus Kinski.

We join Cage as Terence McDonagh just after Hurricane Katrina when despite his worser nature he dives into the bilge to rescue a jailbird, injuring his spine in the process, thus initiating a drug addicted spiral he never really breaks out of but that gives the film its momentum. McDonagh is a man of many vices, addicted to gambling as well as painkillers and consorting with prostitutes and gangsters, playing ball with the law.

Eva Mendes is a great watch as the hooker with a heart, body and brain and Cage visibly enjoys slowly loosening his grip on the role that may well become a cult anti-hero, delivering increasingly crazed lines with brio and following a course dictated by the peculiar logic of his inner and outer circumstance. There's enough bodies strewn in his path to keep the hardboiled amused and although calling this a psychological drama would be claiming too much - or too little - it is a psychodrama of both the highest and lowest order. 

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