Film Reviews, Short Review

Bad Lieutenant (1992)


The best film Martin Scorsese never made. Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant is an ugly, vile, horrendous film that digs itself deep into the most bloody, needle-strewn gutter in New York City. Harvey Keitel stars as, well, a bad lieutenant, who thinks nothing of stealing, drug abuse, illegal betting, a law unto himself, until that is, a particularly horrendous crime is forgiven by its victim, a Catholic nun, sending Keitel into a spin. Keitel’s performance is one of the all time greats, as is Ferrara’s distant, dry direction, choosing to observe his lead rather than comment upon him, whilst stuffing the film with Catholic morality and anxiety. Out of that gutter emerges a stone-cold masterpiece.


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