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Posts Tagged ‘Eva Mendes’

You’ve reached the seventh and final installment of a scene-for-scene look at Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. You may want to browse Parts I, II, III, IV, V, and VI. Or you can steamroll ahead and hope it all makes sense.

And so we arrive at the final chapter in our exhaustive analysis of Bad Lieutenant. This post explores the film’s slippery final minutes, in which people learn lessons, loose ends get tied, and yet, somehow, nothing is revealed.

Bad Lieutenant‘s ride-off into the sunset begins after a climactic — and gloriously berserk — shootout at Xzibit‘s mansion. Over the last of Sonny Terry’s harmonica howling, the film cuts to a junior cop (Shawn Hatosy) at the familiar police station setting. Nicolas Cage enters the frame to inquire about Hatosy’s evening plans in a near incomprehensible drawl. Notice the return of two of Cage’s favorite affectations: his slurred accent and his sharply slanted posture.

Cage wants Hatosy to revisit the home where a Senegalese family was murdered at the start of the film. He has a strange hunch that Hatosy might find a crack pipe belonging to Xzibit. A find like that would place Xzibit at the crime scene and effectively solve the murder case. Hatosy, as if he’s heard such things before, asks, “You had a vision, right?”

Since when does Cage have visions? Since when does he use them as an excuse to follow hunches on the detective trail? Since when was Bad Lieutenant one those shows about cops with supernatural abilities (i.e. “Profiler,” “Psych,” “The Mentalist,” “Millenium”)? Since never, basically. At no point in Bad Lieutenant do we get the slightest impression that Cage has visions or strong intuition, which he uses to cajole his peers into doing things his way. The line sprouts from nowhere. It serves as a comically lazy explanation for why Hatosy would believe Cage’s random hunch. Never mind that it inspires distracting questions like the ones above and has no logical connection to the previous 100 minutes. Of course, Cage has hallucinations, but those drugged-out interludes never relate to his police work. Those are just the synaptic firings of a man on heroin or crack or coke. The line makes zero sense, and it reminds us just how little Herzog cares about narrative logic. He’d much rather inspire off-topic questions (like the ones above) than adhere to the rules of by-the-numbers storytelling. (more…)

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We now return to our scene-for-scene look at Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. For best results, read Parts I, II, and III prior to this entry. I know that sounds like a lot of homework. Feel free to skip it and dive in. Spoilers abound.

We’re about an hour into Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, a film as unwieldy and sprawling as its title. The movie began like some long-lost pilot for “Law & Order: New Orleans” — an object destined for late-night cable or the bargain bin at your dying video store. It then morphed into a freewheeling highlight reel of Nicolas Cage scene-stealing. It became weirder and meaner, like The Big Lebowski with a jagged edge. Bad Lieutenant is a film that tries on different hats for size, only to ditch them minutes later. Now it’s got a new hat. As we return to Bad Lieutenant, we see a drug addict (Nicolas Cage) drive across Louisiana to find his prostitute girlfriend (Eva Mendes). Due to personal and professional obligations, he drags with him a young boy (Denzel Whitaker) and a dog.

Welcome to Bad Lieutenant: The wacky road movie.

Cage must protect the boy, a homicide witness, from a drug kingpin (Xzibit) looking to shut the kid up. Meanwhile, he hopes to find Mendes so he can drop off the dog, which belongs to his father.

The scene sets up a shopworn premise: Male protag gets saddled with kid. Hilarity and life-lessons ensue. Can you count the number of movies that follow this formula? (the list would include such wildly diverse titles as The Rock‘s The Game Plan and Sofia Coppola‘s Somewhere). (more…)

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