Bad Lieutenant Reviews
While Kietel was absolutely fantastic, the movie needed more plot underneath the man to make this a 4 star movie.
It was just watching a guy get high all movie, which got a little old.
Years of navigating the rough streets of NYC as a cop have taken more than a toll on Ferrara's Lieutenant. We never know if our protagonist was ever a good guy, but a number of things indicates that he might have been. But the story begins with an aging cop who is addicted to gambling, drugs, sex and power. Interestingly, his only real power seems to lie in his ability to sexually abuse teenagers so they can avoid a visit to jail. It is a risky film on so many levels.
When The Lieutenant is handed the case of the rape of a young nun, it sends him on a downward existential spiral. Slowly this angry burned-out bully of a man is forced to face the horrors of his world and the growing awareness that he is a part of the horrors rather than someone trying to prevent them. It almost seems as if The Lieutenant takes on not only the guilt but the trauma of the rape in a more profound way than the nun herself. Unable to come to terms with faith's willingness to forgive, Keitel's Bad Lieutenant becomes impotent, muted and alone.
It is a grim and unforgettable film. The low budget of the movie only seems to add to the grit and realism of what we see. It would be short-sighted to view this film's graphic depiction of sexual violence, nudity and drug use as "exploitive" -- this angry movie has something to say and it demands that we listen.