Is Bad Lieutenant a Good Blu-Ray?

Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes in Bad LieutenantFor those of you who missed Nicolas Cage in Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – and that’s most of you – you really missed it. Luckily, there’s this thing called home video – now in the form of DVD and Blu-Ray – that allows you to watch really good movies that you didn’t see in theaters.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is about a drug-addicted cop who’s investigating an execution-style murder in post-Katrina New Orleans. Cage is by no means a stand-up individual – he drinks and shoots up on the job, uses his position of power to have sex with women, and is dating a prostitute. He’s also made a deal with a local drug dealer to get himself out of some serious trouble. But he’s also driven to find the truth and bring the killer to justice – which is what elevates the movie above the 1992 Harvey Keitel movie this one is roughly based upon.

The movie is surprisingly engaging, so much so that it ranked #9 in FilmJabber’s best movies of 2009. It’s not a comedy, and yet it’s brutally funny at times. It succeeds largely due to Nicolas Cage’s amazing performance. Though people may fault him for his mainstream fare, no one plays drugged out, slightly insane characters better than he does; it’s a shame he didn’t garner more recognition for the performance.

Bad Lieutenant comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday, April 6, and as can be expected from a movie that made less than $2 million in theaters (against a $25 million budget), there aren’t a lot of special features. In fact, the only feature of importance is a making-of featurette, which is a rather raw collection of footage and interviews. It includes some interviews with Herzog and Cage as well as other members of the crew; though it is a bit aimless, there are some good nuggets scattered throughout.

A digital photo book – by Lena Herzog – is also included on the disc, but why anyone should care about such a thing is beyond me.

It’s a shame that the Blu-Ray doesn’t include an audio commentary by Herzog and Cage, as I’d imagine that would be one entertaining narration, and as a result, the bonus features are completely lacking. Still, the movie itself is well worth owning – or at least renting.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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