After Katrina, police sergeant Terence McDonagh rescues a prisoner, hurts his back in the process and earns a promotion to lieutenant plus an addiction to cocaine and painkillers. Six months later, a family is murdered over drugs; Terence runs the investigation. His drug-using prostitute girlfriend, his alcoholic father's dog, run-ins with two old women and a well-connected john, gambling losses, a nervous young witness, and thefts of police property put Terence's job and then his life in danger. He starts seeing things. He wants a big score to get out from under mounting debts, so he joins forces with drug dealers. The murders remain unsolved. A bad lieutenant gets worse. Written by
According to the Werner Herzog, 2,400 cans of decaf coffee had to be used to make the water appear to be river water in the jail scene. They first attempted to use a paint, but it proved to be toxic, then the production team used regular coffee, but the actor absorbed it through his skin. See more »
When McGonagh blackmails football player Renaldo, Terrence dangles his handcuffs from his finger with the bottom cuff unshackled. Moments later, when the shot returns to Terrence, the bottom cuff is shackled. See more »
[a dog is barking in the distance as Terrence approaches the house]
Hey! What's wrong?
Your father's mad at me 'cause I can't take care of his fucking dog...
Well why does he need you to take care of it?
Cause! He's goin' back into AA. He says he can deal with anymore responsibilities bsides he said he's gotta stop drinking. I mean, it ain't like I don't wanna take care of it... but I leave at seven o'clock in the morning to go to work!
Let me talk to him.
I try to be a good wife to him, ...
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One thing you can always count on when you go into a Werner Herzog movie is that you can always expect to find a story surrounding a very bizarre individual. With Bad Lieutenant, I saw both Herzog and Nicholas Cage in a new light, or rather a new darkness. Labeled as a black comedy, there should be more emphasis on 'black' than on 'comedy'. The film bears a strong resemblance to the thematically surreal and contrived nature of a Coen Brothers film, but the difference is that this one is more character driven than plot driven. More specifically, this is a film that lives on one performance. Nicholas Cage for the first time in a while has done something worthy of recognition, possibly even award worthy.
He plays New Orleans cop Terence McDonagh, recently promoted to Lieutenant. The film follows his latest homicide investigation. Due to a back problem and a drug addiction he is grumpy and unstable. He is sort of an anti- American hero, and the film concludes on a very bizarre note but clever anti- conventional/Hollywood manner.
Though not Herzog's best, it is certainly one worth watching. With each film I see from him, past or present he continues to intrigue me, but I think in this case, it might be Nicholas Cage who deserves the most credit.
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