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Bad Lieutenant (1992)

Gambler Thief Junkie Killer Cop ...

Original Title : Bad Lieutenant
Director : Abel Ferrara
Writer : Abel Ferrara
Zoë Lund
Genre : Crime
Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Mary Kane , Diana Phillips , Edward R. Pressman , Randy Sabusawa , Patrick Wachsberger , Ronna B. Wallace
Music : Joe Delia
Cliff Friend
Charles Tobias
Photography : Ken Kelsch
IMDB ID : 0103759
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poster for "Bad Lieutenant" by Abel Ferrara (1992)
Bad Lieutenant (1992) - Abel Ferrara
 

Starring

Harvey Keitel The Lieutenant
Brian McElroy Lieutenant's Son (
Frankie Acciarito Lieutenant's Son (
Peggy Gormley Lieutenant's Wife
Stella Keitel Lieutenant's Daughter
Dana Dee Lieutenant's Baby Girl
Victor Argo Bet Cop
Paul Calderon Cop One (as Paul Calderone
Leonard L. Thomas Cop Two
Anthony Ruggiero Lite
Vincent Laresca JC
Robin Burrows Ariane
Victoria Bastel Bowtay
G. Elvis Phillips Young Cop
Stephen Chen Korean Store Owner
Shawn McClean Korean Store Hood
John Steven Jones Korean Store Hood
Fernando Véléz Julio
Joseph Micheal Cruz Paulo
Frankie Thorn Nun
Frank Adonis Large
Paul Hipp Jesus
Lambert Moss Veronica
Nicholas De Cegli Limelight Guide
Larry Mullane Detective Larry
Michael A. Fella Detective Mike
Michael N. Ciravolo Detective Michael
Zoë Lund Zoe (as Zoë Tamerlis
Bo Dietl Detective Bo
Gene Canfield Detective Gene
Heather Bracken Nurse
Penelope Allen Doctor (as Penny Allen
Eddie Daniels Jersey Girl - Driver
Bianca Bakija Jersey Girl - Passenger
Ed Kovens Monsignor
Jaime Sánchez Priest
Minnie Gentry Elderly Woman
Iraida Polanco Mamacita
Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo Radio Announcer
John Clohessy Radio Announcer
Bruce Murray Radio Announcer
Bob Murphy Play by Play Announcer
Warner Fusselle Play by Play Announcer
Phil Neilson Left Turn (as Phil Nielson
 

Plot

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.
 

Comments

Bedlam, but no Bethlehem What would this movie be without Harvey Keitel?It's so easy to see how this production could have gone terribly wrong.Just put Brad Depp in the lead role.There isn't a laugh in this story, and Keitel makes you believe that there isn't a laugh to be had in the entire world.His movements are sluggish, his voice an exhausted and perfunctory mumble.Except when he becomes agitated over the thought of winning money on a bet.His eyelids droop and his lips smack while a hooker puts on his tie and administers a mainliner, and afterward he slowly slumps over in his chair like a stroke victim.That scene alone, in its long takes, would have established him as a powerful performer if he weren't already recognized as one.In two other scenes he displays a hair-raising talent.The first is when he is drunk and crazed on some kind of unearthly dope with two women and we see him naked, standing in front of the camera, and he seems to rise on tiptoes, his tensed arms lift from his sides, his fingers fluttering, and his face becomes a grimace of tortured pleasure as he keens toward the ceiling.I've never seen anything quite like it.The second is even more gripping.Drunk, stoned, abject, he crawls into a church (his lapsed Catholicism has emerged only gradually during the story) and, muscular control disintegrating, he falls to his knees in the aisle and wails, howls, and ululates like a wounded animal, expressing his self loathing and accusing Christ of not helping him while at the same time beseeching his forgiveness and help.It's hard to imagine anyone doing this scene better.It brings to mind Cagney's outburst in the big house in White Heat.There are other scenes that are superficially more shocking -- the bad lieutenant whacking away as he coerces two naive New Jersey women into being naughty in front of him -- but Keitel plays the scene morosely, as if engaging in a biologically necessary but essentially uninterestingly quotidian act, something to be gotten out of the way.The film itself, alas, doesn't quite match the quality of Keitel's performance.There basically aren't any other important performances.The story is all Keitel's.There is no explanation of how he came to be the thoroughly rotten piece of moral filth that he has, but I'm not sure that's required.(Explanations for complex behavior tend to invite a certain glibness in writers: his Mom always preferred his brother, or his potty training was deficient or something.We really don't need his Rosebud.)The nun who is raped is preternaturally beautiful, a glowing creature almost grateful for the opportunity to forgive.She looks particularly radiant when naked.MY nuns were never like that!And, let's face facts, we didn't need an image of the living Christ appearing in the aisle of the church, especially since he looks like a skinny, long-haired, made-up actor.The black woman, into whom he changes, would have sufficed.The most confusing and maybe the weakest part of the movie is the lieutenant's idea of redemption.Is it a good deed when you finally corner the two unrepentant skunks who raped the nun, sit down on a couch and smoke some dope with them, give them stolen money, and put them on a bus to make a getaway?That's his idea of mimicking the nun and her forgiveness?What's to prevent these two nun rapists from giving yet another nun a chance to forgive them a month or two down the road?This is a bleak and tragic story, partly because after all is said and done, the lieutenant seems to have no idea of how to turn Bedlam back into Bethlehem.