Director Werner Herzog has made films with varying plots, locations, and production value. He has made feature films and documentaries, and an alarming amount of these films deal with an unbridled fascination with madness. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is no exception. Rescue Dawn was about the madness from war, Grizzly Man showed the insanity of seeking attention through celebrity in the most extreme manner, and Bad Lieutenant is about the uncontrollable behavior and mental instability brought on by drug addiction.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans can only be considered a loose remake of Abel Ferrara’s 1992 film starring Harvey Keitel, connected only by the fact that both films have bad cops at the center, each addicted to drugs and gambling. The major difference between the films doesn’t come in the plot or in the characters, though Nicholas Cage provides a starkly different portrayal than Keitel, but simply in presentation. The 1992 was a dark and depressing film, and although the new film is also filled with the descent of an addicted and dirty cop, it has a comical edge to it. There is lightness to the material which makes it feel like the old film married to Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Terence McDonagh (Cage) is already somewhat unsavory prior to his drug addiction, which begins as a result of chronic back pain which comes from a lone act of kindness during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He is given a promotion and told that pain pills will be his only way of managing for the rest of his life. Quickly supplementing these with cocaine and various other drugs, McDonagh slides into dangerous territory. This is also paired with a questionable number of methods in his police work, not to mention the number of desperate ways he seeks out drugs and a bad gambling habit.
The Blu-ray provides a high definition presentation of Peter Zeitlinger’s unflattering presentation of a crime-riddled post-Katrina
. The film is filled with iguanas, real or imagined in a drug addled mind, presented in eerie detail at the forefront of many shots. The Blu-ray also includes a digital photography book of pictures taken by Lena Herzog on set. There are also two trailers and a making-of featurette. New Orleans