A police Lieutenant goes about his daily tasks of investigating homicides, but is more interested in pursuing his vices. He has accumulated a massive debt betting on baseball, and he keeps doubling to try to recover. His bookies are beginning to get agitated. The Lieutenant does copious amounts of drugs, cavorts with prostitutes, and uses his status to take advantage of teenage girls. While investigating a nun's rape, he begins to reflect on his lifestyle.Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to Zoë Lund, "There was a lot of re-writing done on the set. Two other characters were cut, and my character modulated and took on more and more. A lot of things had to be changed and improvised. The vampire speech, which is crucial to the Lieutenant, was written two minutes before it was shot. I memorized it, and did it in one take. The speech is important, because she is acute in knowing the journey the Lieutenant makes. She shoots him up, sends him off, knowing of his passion, she lets him go." Incidentally Abel Ferrara would later direct a vampire movie, The Addiction (1995). See more »
Just as the lieutenant is leading the boys into the train station near the end of the film, a cab driver (obviously not a paid extra) is seen waving to the camera. See more »
This film was passed uncut in the UK in 2003. The previous releases suffered from the following cuts: Rape of the nun: cut: scene where nun's pants are removed revealing pubic hair. Injecting heroin: cut: close-up of Zoe Lund's arm as she injects herself. Injecting heroin: cut: Keitel drinking as he watches Zoe. Injecting heroin: cut: another shot of Zoe's arm with the needle in it. Injecting heroin: cut: close up of Zoe's face. Injecting heroin: cut: Zoe drawing liquid from spoon. (still present in the trailer!) Injecting heroin: 31s replaced by crude dissolve: Zoe injects Keitel. Led Zepplin threatened legal action against a track sounding slightly like "Kashmir". The offending song has been removed from 4 points in the video. Street drug dealing just before Keitel arrives to buy crack: now no music at all. Nun's rape originally to backing track "signifying rapper": now church organ music. Long tracking shot following Keitel into the hospital: now no music at all. End credits: now have Abel Ferrara himself singing. See more »
'Bad Lieutenant' is not an easy film to watch. The lead character on the surface has no redeeming virtues - he's corrupt, he's sexually and morally deviant, he is really and truly on the slide. A nun's rape is supposed to awaken his conscience in some way and affect him so deeply that he almost gets to be a decent citizen, but for the bleak and empty ending.
All this would be so much hogwash if it wasn't for the stunning lead performance of Harvey Keitel, certainly taking his acting talent right to the edge to give us a nothing-held-back portrait of his character. There are several scenes of great power (and one or two which are deeply repellent); certainly this isn't a film you can easily forget when you've seen it.
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