Bad Lieutenant

First Herzog film I have seen (WHERE have you BEEN all my life??) and it's a scorcher. I watched it late last night with ma homie, and memories are vague, but I was thinking about it a lot today as a very pedestrian version of the film's events took over my life. I made a foolish mistake that led me to question how tight my grip on reality really was: some synapse forgot to fire between the read -> remember -> write process. It's actually quite scary how CRAP my brain can be...

In Bad Leutenant, Nic Cage's grip on reality is VERY shaky. There are the iguanas (we'll come back to that) and an extraordinary scene (a oner, I think) where he accosts a couple leaving a club, and things get very David Lynch by way of Quentin Tarantino. Scene is repeated, which (film skool 101) means it's important! Cage's character Terrence is a police detective whose life slowly spirals out of control -- gambling debts, losing a witness while high, conspiring with drug-lords, threatening the relative of a senator etc. The film leads you to expect one, very unpleasant, resolution. But no. He solves the case and gets a promotion. Why? Three things. One, Cage (srsly) is charismatic and commanding, even when caned. Two, audacity -- people around him are so astounded by his crazy behaviour that they do what he says. It also makes him unreadable -- the drug-baron thinks he's crooked, but he's not. Finally, and most importantly, LUCK. The film makes this point explicit -- one of Terrence's plays fails, but it works out anyway. And that's it. Success.

It's all very Machiavelli, actually ...((Ah philosophy, I knew you'd be useful!))

I think the croc scene is meant to suggest this. One croc goes on the motor-way. Result: car crash. The other croc walks away, an over shot tracks it as it escapes -- the same kind that tracks Cage throughout the film. It's luck, innit.

And the fish. The film begins with a snake swimming in a flooded prison, and ends in an aquarium. Is this a nature / art, chaos / order contrast? We begin in the jungle, but some of us are skillful and lucky enough to escape.

No comments:

Post a Comment