Review - The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans

Directed by Werner Herzog
Written by William F. Finkelstein, based on the earlier screenplay by Victor Argo, Paul Calderon, Abel Ferrara and Zoe Lund
Starring Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner, Brad Dourif

Werner Herzog's The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans is an archetypal example of Absurdist cinema. Its characters are constantly seeking clarity, fulfilment and answers and never truly obtain them. It has one of the most unexpected "happy endings" I've ever seen a flick end on and yet one that still leaves its titular character spent and looking utterly lost. His last word to the camera is not so much a word as it is a syllable, a single, knowing "Heh" uttered possibly to himself, possibly to whomever is watching.

It is also incredibly absurd. In its nearly two hour running time there was no shortage of moments where I couldn't decide whether to gasp or burst out laughing, though most of the time I instinctually ended up doing the latter. Its latter half is rife with hallucinations, ranging from a pair of placid of undeniably sinister-looking iguanas to a dead debt collector's breakdancing soul. In fact, I have my doubts that the aforementioned obscenely happy ending isn't some massive drug-fueled delusion. As blasphemous as it sounds, I've never previously seen any of Herzog's films but I have a funny feeling the man likes to fuck with his audience, because that's the distinct impression I got from watching this film.