Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Transgression Comedy

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
2009.  122 minutes. USA. Directed by Werner Herzog. Watchdate: 3/27/2011.
An odd duck of a movie that novelly spoofs the police detective story by roiling up such an absurd concoction of unhinged wildness that it skewers conventions and upsets expectations seemingly without any effort expended whatsoever. This is exactly the kind of movie I love - contemptuous of genre, hilariously impulsive, aware of its self-indulgence but unwilling to apologize for it. In fact, it fulfilled my desires too much - at a certain point it was so enjoyable that it ceased being at all challenging. Therefore it can't quite rise to the top of the pile. Or can it? On first viewing it felt too good to be true, but in retrospect I can't stop loving its drunken audacity and hallucinatory liveliness.

In any case, this is exactly the way Nicolas Cage can be utilized effectively for high entertainment - waving a huge gun around in order to threaten old ladies, smoking crack before making out with a hooker, running up gambling debts, and extorting or intimidating every other person he meets. Looking back, this movie is Dionysus, Leaves of Grass is Apollo.

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