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The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

           This film might be worth watching because Werner Herzog directed it and Nicolas Cage does a remarkable job of acting as Lieutenant Terence McDonagh. Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, Terence is a manic and deeply corrupt crackhead cop who leads an investigation into the slaughter of a family from Senegal. He does bad to do good, which is hardly an original idea. By the end of the film his vigilante justice and self-destructive addictions haunt him. What little plot there is struggles. The film never decides whether it's a character study of Cage or a murder mystery to solve. Significant tensions that build throughout the narrative find easy resolution. Terence's problems, and they are many, melt away. As a Herzog film, there are surreal moments with animals that are interesting but awkward — a snake slithers in the urban flood waters in the opening scene, a fish in a glass of water has a poem written about it, alligators cause freeway crashes, iguanas roam about, a white lab dog needs a babysitter, and in the last scene Cage sits in front of an aquarium and wonders aloud, "do fish dream?" Cage's crack hallucinations? Herzog's satirical humor? It's hard to tell.

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