Bad Lieutenant
Bad Lieutenant is a happy little piece of independent cinema about how an alcoholic, drug addicted, racist, sexist, and compulsive gambler of a detective deals with a nun getting brutally raped and violated with religious memorabilia. This is definitely outside of usual Hollywood cinema and you can tell that it was a part of the early to mid 90's independent movement of cutting-edge and gritty films. It earns its NC-17 rating time and time again, and it's definitely gritty and visceral. It also boasts one of the best performances of Harvey Keitel's career.

There is no real plot involved in this one. It's more of a character study of how he struggles with coming to terms with the horrible assault. Being such a brutal force, he wants to exact his brand of street justice on the offenders, but the nun forgives her attackers and that just confuses him even more. Through the course of the film you just basically watch the character slowly self destruct and dig himself into a bigger hole that you know he won't ever be able to crawl out of. The way that he self destructs and the horrible actions that he does throughout the movie make it hard to actually like and feel sympathy for the character, but believe it or not, the moment comes where you actually do find yourself caring for him. It's that particular scene that makes this movie worth checking out. It's a beautiful and painful scene where Keitel's character breaks down in a church before Jesus Christ and begs for forgiveness for his whole life. Keitel's performance is just beyond amazing in that moment. Trust me, rent this one and if you can't make it all the way through, just make sure you watch that scene. It's up there with the Walken/Hopper showdown from True Romance.

This film is an interesting experience. One that I'm still not completely certain about whether or not I actually enjoyed. It's been at least two weeks since I watched it and I think it needs a second viewing for me to make a definitive opinion. There really is no real story here, and the characters don't even really have names other than Detective 1 and Lieutenant. You can tell it was a low-budget and some of the performances are off. There are moments where it seems like all Keitel does is cry and scream in his usual weird way (anybody who's seen the last five minutes of Reservoir Dogs knows what I'm talking about). The ending is what you would expect for a character like this, but there are a few moments before the finale that surprised me with the way he acted. So overall, I wouldn't highly recommend this one, but I would say that if you're in the video store, or channel-surfing late at night and are in the mood for something a little different than the norm then give it a chance. There are some genuinely great moments. Just leave your morals at the door. It is called Bad Lieutenant after all!
Reviewed by: josh
5 Comment(s)
Shea said...
This one is actually in my queue thanks to the recommendation for my main man "Squib". I can't wait to see it now so I can have an opinion here.

Thanks for reviewing man!!! I love your choices and opinions!
* (asterisk) ( said...
Ah, the joys of Bad Lieutenant. I saw it when it came out and then bought the VHS. Watched it one more time. Fun it ain't, but it is a fascinating character study, and Harv is great in it. Shame we had to see his cock, though.
Josh said...
Yeah, I totally forgot about that in my review. Could have gone my whole life without seeing that. Oh well.
Shea said...
Yeah for other "c" shots check out Any Given Sunday, 28 Days Later, Sarah Marshall, and of course Eastern Promises.

They do it for realism and we watch it for art.

Shea said...
Just found out that this is being remade by Herzog and Nick Cage!...ha