Saturday, 30 June 2012

Film Review: BAD LIEUTENANT (2009)

Bad Lieutenant (2009) - poster [Original Title: THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL - NEW ORLEANS]

Director: Werner Herzog
Writer (screenplay): William M. Finkelstein
Writers (earlier film “Bad Lieutenant”): Victor Argo, Paul Calderon, Abel Ferrara, ZoĆ« Lund
Running time: 117 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 21st May 2010

Watched on DVD Saturday 30th June 2012.


This is a film I’ve been meaning to catch for quite a while now and with Wimbledon being on it afforded me a window of opportunity. A very entertaining and interesting film that I very much enjoyed. I can’t say I’ve seen much of Werner Herzog’s work, but, on the strength of this, I’d like to see more. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Bad Lieutenant (2009) - 1 When New Orleans cop, Terence McDonagh, injures his back rescuing a prisoner in the wake of Katrina, his life is changed. He starts with prescription drugs but when they fail to do it for him he resorts to something a little stronger. He has no problem with shaking down offenders and stealing drugs from the evidence locker to feed his habit. His girlfriend, Frankie Donnenfield, a hooker, also helps him with these ‘shake-downs’. Of course, he makes some enemies along the way and this, combined with some gambling debts tends to make Terence a bit of an unstable character. Even his partner, Stevie Pruit, turns his back on him. Is there any redemption for Terence? Well, I’ll leave you with that question… Don’t want to give too much away now do we.

Bad Lieutenant (2009) - 2 Very well made with a few quirky effects… I loved ‘Iguana-cam’ particularly (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it). But the thing that stands out most about this picture is the performance of Nicolas Cage as Terence McDonagh; they say for every three duds there’s one outstanding one… and believe me, this is well worth a look! He’s really great in this. I also thought Eva Mendes did an excellent job as Frankie Donnenfield. Honourable mentions go to; Val Kilmer, who I thought was underused as Stevie Pruit, Xzibit as gangster, Big Fate and Jennifer Coolidge as Genevieve.

Bad Lieutenant (2009) - 3 The combination of Cage’s excellent performance and the direction of Herzog works a treat (for me). I know the film failed to impress that much at the American box office and I think it may be because it perhaps went a little far in showing McDonah’s decline. I did feel the events leading up to the ending seemed a little rushed; having spent so much time showing him reach that point. Over all though, I thought it was rather good and deserved a better reception than it got… (For me), RECOMMENDED.

My score: 8.3/10

IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 39,833 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 69/100: (Based on 32 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 87/100 (based on 135 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 52/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 50,683 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Bad Lieutenant (2009) - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Terence McDonagh: Shoot him again.
Deshaun 'Midget' Hackett: What for?
Terence McDonagh: His soul is still dancing.
[laughs hysterically]

Terence McDonagh: You know we got your boy, G, right?
Deshaun 'Midget' Hackett: Man, I don't know no G.
Terence McDonagh: He knows you. It's amazing how much you can get done when you've got a simple purpose guiding you through life. My purpose is to find out who shot up this apartment on Josephine. I know the guy that was living there was from Senegal. I know he was selling heroin. I know whose territory he was stepping on. And I know who went over to the apartment to straighten him out. I found out all that in the past few days. Where's Big Fate, son?
Deshaun 'Midget' Hackett: I don't know no Big Fate.
Terence McDonagh: Now, see, I know that's not true, because everybody who comes from where you come from knows who Big Fate is. The fact that you're lying to me about it tells me you're hiding something. Since you know my only reason for being here is to find out who shot up the apartment, I know that's what you're hiding. See? It all comes back to that same simple purpose.

Terence McDonagh: You don't have a lucky crack pipe?

Terence McDonagh: You think fish have dreams?

Bad Lieutenant (2009) - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

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