Bad lieutenants then and now
Things were different with police protocol
back in 1991. At least in Abel Ferrara's New
Today a cop gets into a confrontation
involving race and the problem gets resolved over a beer with the President at
the White House. Back then, or as seen in Ferrara's "Bad
Lieutenant (1992)," which came out in a new DVD edition earlier this week from
Lionsgate, the sequence is somewhat reversed. In the title role Harvey Keitel
steps into a stand-off between an Asian convenience store owner, two black kids
accused of robbing him and a white uniformed cop. First thing he says: "Get me
a Bud. A fucking high boy!"
That's the key: have the beer FIRST.
Maybe the President can work his magic with
the contretemps between Ferrara and Werner Herzog, who will be showing his
non-remake of Ferrara's notorious cult classic titled "Bad Lieutenant: Port of
Call New Orleans" starring Nicolas Cage at the Toronto Film Festival and also will
be putting it into competition at Venice.
have his work cut out for him. Says Ferrara
when he heard about Herzog's project, "I hope these people die in hell!"
Counters Herzog: "I have no idea who Abel Ferrara is ... I've never seen a film
by him ... Is he Italian? Is he French? Who is he?"
Herzog, though, will have HIS work cut out
for him to equal the in-your-face outrageousness of Ferrara's film
(in-your-face literally, as Keitel had his dick on screen when Judd Apatow was
still co-producing "Rosanne"
and Sacha Baron Cohen was studying History at Cambridge). True, the trailer for
the film (which
leaves in doubt whether it is a parody or a David Lynchian black comedy or some
demented Herzogian sui generis) has some nice lines ("What is a fucking iguana
doing on my coffee table?" and "Shoot him again, his soul is still dancing.").
But he'll be hard-pressed to top the scene in which Keitel pulls over a couple
of high school-aged party girls for a minor infraction. As Ken Kelsch, Ferrara's DP says in the DVD's voiceover commentary (the
give and take between him and Ferrara
is ribald, hilarious and almost as outré as the film itself):
wondering what was going to happen here. All the script said was ‘kinky sex
scene follows..' Wow. There was something more perverse here than I ever
That's for sure. Complete with a new
documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew, "Bad Lieutenant: Special
Edition" (Lionsgate | $20) is as bad as lieutenants get.