The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans ★★★½

Werner Herzog's films are almost always fueled by some kind of foolhardy, go-for-broke insanity -- Aguirre, Wrath Of God finds it in its titular madman hellbent on El Dorado, while Fitzcarraldo finds it in the recklessly outsized ambitions of the director himself. In the awkwardly titled Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans (nominally a remake of Abel Ferrara's 1992 film with Harvey Keitel, but sharing little in common outside of a thoroughly corrupt cop at the film's center), that chaotic variable is Nicolas Cage. Yeah. That's it.

This director and this actor were made for each other, so much so that you wonder why it took this long for the two to collaborate. This is Nicolas Cage in perhaps his most unhinged performance (which is saying an awful lot, but hey, imaginary iguanas don't lie). Herzog, working from a Machiavellian fable penned by William Finkelstein, creates a film experience not so much concerned with the tightness and flow of its plot, but with texture, with cruddy impressionism, the depraved depths of its protagonist, and a worldview suggesting that his heinous crimes will go unpunished because He-Is-The-Law.