Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop.
While investigating a young nun's rape, a corrupt New York City police detective, with a serious drug and gambling addiction, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness.
Mr. White as a cop living on the mother fucking edge. Blow. Bo fuckin' Dietl. A smart bet. Baseball. A street pharmacist. Crack is whack. Naked dancing. Flaccid Harvey. A convenience store shakedown. A despicable-horrific-sad-face act of violence. Darryl fuckin' Strawberry. Stealing from the dead. Chicks in penguin suits. A nude nun. Jersey bad girls. A serious question. Extreme-chicken-chokin'. Fuck you cassette player! Holy communion. Yummy wafers! Sad confessions. Not giving a flyin' fuck who you snort coke in front of. Nightclub action. Playing dumb. Uncontrolable laughter. An empty threat. China fuckin' White. Real fuckin' justice. Holy fuckin' hallucinations. Some real good shit. The way Harvey says cocksucker. The bus. Checking out for good. Harvey fuckin' Keitel blows it out…
Bad Lieutenant is a crime drama that follows the story of a cop who, while investigating a nun's rape, tries to straighten out his life. Ferrara builds an excellent character study on an unlikeable man who leads a life of corruption (by abusing his authority as a lieutenant) and who finds himself cornered with his addictions (drug and gambling) that threaten to destroy his life.
Instead of trying to establish a real 'story', director Abel Ferrara insvests in a controversial study on a man who tries to find redemption after a life of corruption and bad choices, in a detailied examination of a man's nihilist life, a cop who abuses of his social position to lead a semi anarchist life.…
For some reason I've always remembered Bad Lieutenant as a 70s film. There's something about its detachment and struggles with morality that harks back to early Scorsese, especially with Harvey Keitel in the lead role. It becomes more than a mere homage to Mean Streets as Abel Ferrara mirrors Scorsese by weighing down Keitel's boots with Catholic guilt and having him commit a series of unforgivable sins.
The Lieutenant in question is more than a corrupt cop, he's a pervert, a drunk, and a drug addict. He's the sort of guy John Doe and Jigsaw would have a field day with as sin oozes from every pore of his body like thick black tar. His actions are not mere indulgences,…
Less a narrative than an examination of the depths of redemption, Bad Lieutenant takes an unlikable asshole and asks us how much we can take before we want him dead. Harvey Keitel's Lieutenant is a complete monster, a walking pharmacy cabinet, and, besides a strikingly inane suburban side-life, has nothing redeeming about him. We're treated to increasingly detestable episodes that showcase his brutality, hubris, and utter nihilism until there's seemingly no deeper he can sink.
The showcasing of his banal domestic life seems to be director Abel Ferrara's indication that most, if not all, of LT's woes are of his own causing. He mistakes self-destruction for pride. He thinks himself untouchable, even as he becomes more and more erratic. It…
This is one of Ferrara's greatest films, bar none. It's as much a remarkable character study as it is portrait of a city. Both suffering from a moral and spiritual crisis. Harvey Keitel has never been better. He plays a corrupt New York City police detective with a serious drug and gambling addiction who, while investigating a nun's rape, tries to change his ways. That alone won't be enough. He'll have both look inward and outward to find forgiveness. Ferrara knows this. Christian faith and symbolism are very important to the film. But Ferrara doesn't offer easy answers. Rightly so given how complex a character his protagonist truly is. The finest American film of the '80s.
Managed to bring this to a screening at my local (student) film club, on 35mm even, and counting me we were 15 people there. Good times.
Good times were not what Harvey Keitel's cop was going through. Penned by Ferrara himself, together with Zoe Lund, star of Ferrara's earlier Ms. 45, this is a pure, unadulterated downward spiral into the deepest darkest corners of a rotten soul. Keitel pours every inch (yes, literally) of himself into the part, and his cathartic climax is brutal. He's never better than here, in my view.
He's not backed up by much, though, the rest of the cast are more extras than anything else, although the "drug buddy" pretty much nails it.
The pacing isn't all that either, and if it's fun you're looking for, you want Herzog's "remake", not this.
The ending has never sat right with me, and the women tonight really didn't care for it.
Bad Lieutenant is crusty as fuck. It's got that grimy 80s-action look to it, but this is no action film. This is an intimately eyes-wide-open examination of a shadow of a cop attempting to reach heaven by swimming to his grave. With every scene that passes the haunted crevices under his eyes become more desperate as he willfully spins himself into a cocoon of coke, crack, and h.
He'd be so goddamned unlikeable, except the need for obliteration runs so deep that he becomes iconic. Sympathetic, even. A man who stands for every man who lives life from one flask swig to the next.
This movie makes sure to hammer home something important that most movies forget: sometimes you really can be too much of a fuckup to properly redeem yourself. But you can try, even when you know it's too late.
i wasn't sure if BAD LIEUTENANT was an early/mid 80ies, or even late 70ies movie, until keitel steps into the techno club. "damn, that must be early 90ies!" ferrara manages it to give you that feeling of new york city being this shithole you know out of your films from the 2 decades before, and that's quiet an achievement.
stepping away from a too conventional narrative, and just letting harvey keitel being the dickhead he is able to pull off here is, how the movie works. not much the (sometimes pretty overrated) ferrara has to do. another cynical, urban story of nihilism we all love so much from our beloved decades of the past century.
Desgarradora película sobre un policia corrupto: jugador, putero, alcoholico, drogadicto. La película está muy bien, pero sobre todo Harvey Keitel está impresionante en su papel de policía corrupto al que odiar por su malos actos.
Film 13/30 of the "Scavenger Hunt #6" Challenge!
My Scavenger Hunt #6 List.
Item 15. A film featuring a dirty cop!
existentially gritty that dims the whole room once Keitel unleashes his cool warpath of false morals and fleeting images of bordering on restricted waters. it's very easy to evoke the lead character's embodiment, it's evil personified - but very controlled conceptualized by the almost exact opposite of Denzel Washington's character in Training Day. and Ferrara can really bring it in, slam it on your face, and get away with shocking scenes that can still affect the viewer considering it timeless somehow. much more, its strong take on religion, highly bordering itself to be the principled voice as…
First of all, the cover photo for this movie on Letterboxd is awful.
Second of all, Harvey Keitel is brilliant in this movie. Bad Lieutenant is not necessarily an enjoyable movie to watch, but it is riveting. I watched Keitel's character (I don't think he is ever named) spiral down through the last three days of his life and kept wondering how he was able to continue drinking and drugging without his heart completely stopping. I don't know if I have ever seen the emotion of despair so believably acted in a film.
I've seen this twice, the second time with friends who I assumed would respond easily to its violence/sex/drugs grit concoction, but instead they were impatiently waiting through its lumbering limbos of vice-as-monotony (/purgatory?) and totally flummoxed by a Catholicism that was as foreign to their headspaces as it is integral to the history of American cinema, of which Ferrara's tortured brand is some kind of evolutionary checkpoint. It's easier to be sure that it's great when you know it's really not as lunk-headedly 'cool' as you once thought it was.
I think I'm close to appreciating Abel Ferrara now. I wasn't ready to take him seriously when I watched this years ago without an appreciation for this type of drama, and films like Fear City and the TV movie The Gladiator were just exploitation movies to me I couldn't appreciate. Things started to change seeing 4:44 - Last Day on Earth, then The Blackout, and now revisiting this.
Bad Lieutenant is so drastically different from the Werner Herzog/Nicolas Cage version that Ferrara shouldn't have worried about it and wished the crew making died in a car crash. While Herzog's is about the absurdity of evil, this is a character piece of a man in Harvey Keitel slowly falling to pieces…
I'm guessing that Bad Lieutenant had rave reviews and is awesome in ways I totally didn't get. I though it pretty much sucked. Woah
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.