The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Although Werner Herzog has been working for years, I was first introduced to his films through Grizzly Man. I was not too fond of the film, but I absolutely loved Herzog’s film Encounters at the End of the World which he made a few years later. In many ways, the sly, and at times absurd, wit that Herzog displays in Encounters is good preparation for the craziness that he throws at the audience in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Loosely based on the 1992 film, Bad Lieutenant, directed by Abel Ferrara and staring Harvey Keitel, Port of Call New Orleans looks at the year in the life of corrupt detective, Terrence McDounaugh (Nicolas Cage). Pill-popping Terrence is trying to solve a homicide case, but keeps getting distracted by his many vices. When he is not hanging out with his prostitute girlfriend, Frank (Eva Mendes), he spends his days stealing drugs from club goers and avoiding his bookie persistent whom he owes a lot of money. As Terrence spirals out of control, the line between good and evil become increasingly blurred. Soon Terrence finds himself partnering up with drug kingpin Baby Fate (Xzibit), who happens to be the lead suspect in the murder case McDounaugh is investigating.
Although similar in theme to the original Bad Lieutenant, Werner Herzog’s version is different in practically every way. I found that Herzog’s version was much lighter in tone, almost boarding on farce in several occasions. The off-kilter humour, coupled with Nicolas Cage’s wildly creative performance, makes for an oddly entertaining film. Herzog really does a great job of not only bring you into Terrence’s drug hazed world, but making it all seem natural.
While not quite as strong as Bad Lieutenant, Port of Call has its own unique charm that allows it to co-exist nicely with the 1992 film. The film tends to lag in a few parts, but really, it is not that noticeable. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is one wild ride that was far more entertaining than it really should be.