A timid and mute seamstress goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day, in which she takes to the streets of New York City after dark and randomly shoots men with a .45 caliber pistol.
An artist slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill.
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 <email@example.com>
According to Abel Ferrara, the film was originally supposed to be funny. "It was always, in my mind, a comedy", Ferrara said. He cited the scene where the Lieutenant pulls the teenage girls over, as a specific example of how Christopher Walken would have played it, and how Harvey Keitel changed it. "The Lieutenant was going to end up dancing in the streets with the girls as the sun came up. They'd be wearing his gun belt and hat, and they'd have the radio on, you know what I mean? But oh my God, Harvey, he turned it into this whole other thing." See more »
When the Lieutenant stops the Jersey girls he is talking to them through the open driver's side window. When the camera angle changes it is clear the window is rolled up. See more »
Can I help you?
Yeah, I'm in charge of the investigation. I'm just checking security.
Yeah. You wouldn't want those guys coming back, huh? For the nun? Or for you?
See more »
Intense, subtle, and in some ways unique- Bad Lieutenant is the sleeper of 1992
Abel Ferrara has on his hands a small masterwork of one man's existence in the doldrums, and he has such a way of dealing with "the streets" as a perpetually gritty, hellish world in a movie that I didn't disbelieve it for a second. In a sense he can be compared to the likes of Scorsese, however he certainly works in a different frame of honesty in mind in depicting his lead character and those he encounters.
At the core of this extremely well made, unconventional film is the best performance Harvey Keitel delivered in the nineties, a bravado piece of work in which he bares all of the qualities that can make up the badness in the lieutenant. The Lieutenant spends little time with his kids, and when he does is hardly happy, and when he leaves them he goes into the underworld to do coke, crack and heroin, gulps down alcohol like Evian, and tries to cling onto whatever dignity he has left in betting on the Mets in the championship series.
When a startling case occurs - a nun is raped by two street kids - the lieutenant is on the scene, however fogged in his muck, and can't understand how somebody, even a nun, can forgive such a crime. This leads into the third act of the film, and this is where the work propels itself into a higher ground, mature, spiritual, and ultimately fascinating in every aspect. Overall, Bad Lieutenant is a lean, un-abashed first-person singular in a rather sophisticated delivery. We are delivered a character, like Alex in Clockwork Orange for example, who is not even a half-way decent person.
But just by the way Ferrara and Keitel bring us into his world, and the details of his existence, a viewer can start to understand that the film works on other levels besides those of a conventional "all around bad-cop" story.
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