Directed by Werner Herzog
I think that the real question everyone has to ask themselves after seeing this movie is this “Do fish dream?” Okay, that’s only half a joke, but this next statement isn’t… despite how repulsive it’s going to sound to most people.
Nicolas Cage was born to act. There, I said it. Now please flame me. Despite the multitude of horrible roles the man has done (more so over the past five or six years than earlier on in his career) the one thing that no one can ever take away from him is that in every one of his performances he gives 110%. And yes, while most of the time, we wish he would scale that number back to a more reasonable and far more palatable 65%, at least his intentions are always the best. But for every five “Ghost Rider” roles Cage seems to attract for himself, he gets one “Bad Lieutenant”, and this is without a doubt his most interesting, challenging, and entertaining film since “Adaptation”. (Which is one of the best films ever made, period.) It brings round the reason why Nicolas Cage was born to act (though a blood relation to Francis Ford Coppola was, no doubt, another reason) because there are a few key roles, Cage was simply just born to play. H.I. in “Raising Arizona”, Sailor in “Wild at Heart”, Castor Troy in “Face/Off”, Charlie Kaufmann in “Adaptation”, Roy Waller in “Matchstick Men”, and yes, even Stanley Goodspeed in “The Rock”, there’s no doubt that most of these movies would have been decent even without Cage, but they certainly wouldn’t have been as great as they are (and they are all great). So you can see how it’s hard for me to jump on this “let’s everybody hate Nicolas Cage” bandwagon that appears to be so popular as of late, because the man has given me too many awesome movies and performances over the years for me to really dislike him. Yes, sometimes I’d wish he’d tone it down a tad, but that’s what Nicolas Cage does, he doesn’t just go all the way, he acts all the way.
Okay, enough on Cage, how about the actual movie?
Werner Herzog is one weird mo fo. I haven’t seen enough of his films to really form an opinion of the man one way or another, but the ones I have seen have left me with this impression, and “Bad Lieutenant” certainly does nothing but further this belief of mine. From the pacing to the dialogue to the action, this movie gives off the impression of being about as high as its main protagonist. Thankfully, it’s also as interesting. As strange as the movie gets (i.e. break-dancing souls) it always hooks you and makes you want to continue watching. And while occasionally it might lose you as it jumps all around the place, it always manages to find you again.
To say anything more about the movie would ruin the experience of simply watching it. It’s definitely a movie best seen with little to no expectations, if it is allowed to just wash over you. I suggest you do so. And those performances that Nicolas Cage gives ever five years or so that validates him as a great actor? It’s in here and it’s something to behold.
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