“Jimmy Stewart as a Crackhead”

While waiting for Coen to fall asleep after his 1:30 a.m. feeding (he’s pretty much like clockwork on that one), I started flipping through today’s New York Times and found A.O. Scott’s review of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Werner Herzog’s latest movie.

I enjoyed the original, Abel Ferrara’s 1992 Bad Lieutenant, especially the scene where the titular character, played by Harvey Keitel, is smoking crack in a tenement hallway and an old woman sticks her head out of her door to see what’s going on and he pulls his gun and yells at her to go back inside, crack smoke pouring from his mouth, his NYPD badge swinging on a chain around his neck.

I do love a good tableau.

Anyway, I probably wouldn’t watch a straight sequel of that movie (and the original didn’t bear re-watching the one time I tried, although maybe a first date was the wrong setting), but I sure as hell will watch what Scott describes as “neither remake nor sequel” but rather “its own special fever-swamp of a movie, an anarchist film noir that seems, at times, almost as unhinged as its protagonist.”

And did I mention that Nicholas Cage stars?

Oh, yes. Oh, yes he does:

Fueled by Nicolas Cage’s performance – which requires adjectives as yet uncoined, typed with both the caps-lock key and the italics button engaged – Mr. Herzog’s film is a pulpy, glorious mess. …

Mr. Cage’s New Orleans cop … clings to an insane sense of professionalism even as his demons drive him around every bend in the Mississippi River.

[Cage] is a jittery whirlwind of inventiveness, throwing his body and voice in every direction and keeping [his character], the movie and the audience in a delirious state of imbalance.

Sometimes his loose-limbed shuffle and sibilant drawl suggest Jimmy Stewart as a crackhead.

What more do you need to know?

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