**Review Written Two Years Ago Originally For My First Rotten Tomatoes Account, Unedited and Updated for Blog’s Format**
If I could name a great movie that delves into bad tastes yet is not too over-the-top, this would be it.
Bad Lieutenant is not only a character study of the human psyche on drugs and sexual perversions, but it is also a great piece that studies the workings of crime in NYC. Harvey Kietel plays a corrupt police detective with serious drug and gambling addictions who, whilst investigating the rape of a young nun, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness.
I knew how brilliant Mr. Kietel was, but I didn’t know how far he’d go to be that way. Harvey plays the main character with such gravitas, with such shocking enthusiasm and depth that no one can and dare to top him. His performance was so blisteringly realistic and hard to watch that he lifts a meager plot such as this and makes it so fascinating and dark that you can’t dare look away.
The script, written by the director Abel Ferrara, was exciting to say the least. It was pulpy and exploitive, yet didn’t make the taboo subjects such as rape and sexual perversion any more easier to watch. The characterization of the Lieutenant was unflinching enough, yet Harvey took it to a new level.
The direction, also by Ferrara, was quite well done. The style was exploitive and in your face, but the whole aspect I found most exciting was the cinematography, which never shied away on the controversial scenes, and kept to it’s true grimy nature all the same.
To conclude, this film is hard to watch and really grimy, but Harvey Kietel’s ultra realistic portrayal of a crooked cop make it one you definitely need to see to believe. Personally, I prefer Bad Lieutenant – Port of Call: New Orleans to this, but that doesn’t make me regret giving this a great review. Do yourselves a favor and see it soon, but only watch the uncut version, as I’ve heard the chopped version is quite un-watchable.
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