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
Val Kilmer and Fairuza Balk appeared together in The Island of Dr Moreau (1996) See more »
The film is set "six months" after Hurricane Katrina, putting the action in the movie occurring sometime around February 2006. In the film, Terence McDonagh continually bets on college football games, though in reality the football season is over by the time the action supposedly takes place. See more »
[to the pharmacist about his prescription]
Excuse me, could ya tell me how much longer that's gonna be?
HELLO, MISS! I'm a lieutenant in the police department! I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF A HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION! CAN I GET MY PRESCRIPTION, PLEASE?
Do you see I'm on the phone?
[McDonagh runs behind the counter]
Hey, hey... You can't come back here!
YOU GOT ME WAITING THIRTY MINUTES TO MAKE A FUCKING PERSONAL PHONE CALL!
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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.
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 Metacritic.com 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).
You can find an expanded version of this review on my blog: Thoughts of a SteelMonster.
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