Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bad Lieutenant (1992)

I like movies that have an visceral edge and an in-your-face quality that most Hollywood films either steer clear of or pour it on in such a brainless fashion that it becomes a parody. But when Hollywood doesn't fuck things up and a director with an intense vision manages to capture it perfectly... that's what wins me over.

Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant is far from being subtle film. It is very much a gritty and grotesque work. As uncomfortable a movie as I have seen in quite a while (perhaps rivaled by The Passion of the Christ or The Girl Next Door), this movie is essentially what embodies my rather peculiar taste. 

Harvey Keitel gives what is probably his best performance as a drug-addled and perverted cop who stumbles upon a case that has him questioning his lifestyle. Or at the very least realizing his lifestyle is wrong. But what will he do about it?

This movie is not really a cop drama or a drug movie (though there are enough drugs in the movie to rival Oliver Stone's Scarface in terms of usage), but more of a human tragedy and a spiritual drama.

Don't get me wrong, though. There are disturbing scenes abound in this movie. Keitel's character eyes the boobs of dead corpses, masterbates on the car of two scared young women he's pulled over, and then does a shitload of drugs and treats his family like shit. Perhaps the most disturbing scene next to the semi-subtle masterbation scene is the not-so-subtle full-frontal scene Keitel treats us to only about ten minutes into the film. 

Did I also mention that a nun gets brutally raped in this movie and a church gets desecrated in the process? 

And it is that crime that eats away at Keitel's character. 

There isn't much action in this movie. It is mostly all situational and emotional drama. And a whole bunch of sick shit thrown in. 

This movie might not be your cup of tea. It probably isn't. 

But I believe that the movie is perfect for me. If not for the nudity, the drugs, the rape, the masterbation, and the frequent gambling... this movie would look great sandwiched in between Ben Hur and A Christmas Carol

1 comment:

  1. I've always loved this one. I remember seeing this when it first came out and it was rather shocking at the time (and still is). I saw it on video after I had heard a review. I can't remember if it played in any of the theaters or not. Most of the time, when a movie is NC-17, you can't find it in a theater anywhere. I really hate that NC-17 movies are so shunned. They have this stigma of the X rating. You may not know this but mainstream movies used to be rated X. The X rating meant it was an adult only movie (18 and older). Midnight Cowboy (great movie) was rated X and won an Oscar. Last Tango in Paris was also an X. Equus was an X. Then porn started using the X rating and X became associated with porn. Nobody would make an X movie after that. Then they changed the name of the rating to NC-17 but it didn't lose the stigma. It's a shame because because there are some great NC-17 movies that get buried or hacked up to make an R. The Dreamers was the last NC-17 I can remember (great movie - I think you would like it) and I actually saw that in the theater a few years ago. Of course not a mainstream theater, I had to go to one that showed discount movies. But I digress. I love the grittiness in Bad Lieutenant and I love how uncomfortable that movie can make you feel. The uncomfortable scenes seem to go on extra long. That scene where he pulls the girls over is really long and very twisted. And it just seems to go on and on. I loved the setup he had with the drug dealer where he pretended to chased him into the building, then when they got out of site, he whips out his crack pipe. Classic.