Sunday, 22 August 2010

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

(I've spelt Lieutenant correctly this time round!)

This is a 2009 film directed by Werner Herzog. There's the other BL film that I've also written about. There's a lot of anger going on due to the other, older film getting upset about the title being stolen. I'm treating both as separate films, and I believe they are, even technically. "Bad Lieutenant" is hardly an original title is it?

There is information about this film all over the internet, thousands of reviews, and it won the Golden Lion award. It really is a mainstream blockbuster film, despite associating Herzog with his more original stuff. It stars mainstream stars: Nicholas Cage, Xzibit, and some others I haven't heard of since I don't follow them. Why's everyone telling you its mainstream? Because those that know Herzogs work may find this a surprise.

It's a good film, with a few scenes giving it the edge over most crime drama stuff. You can imagine that Herzog wouldn't totally of drifted from his quirky creative side. Herzog knows how to do a film like this, and he's done it really well. Just don't expect to find something totally original.

My first Herzog film was Stroszek. I was young at the time and watched it because Ian Curtis of Joy Division watched that film before he died. Years later I then watched the 5 Herzog/Kinski films 5 which are all brilliant. These aren't "difficult artsy" films, they're a sort of "alternative mainstream" (think Herzog called himself that) -- but they're very unique. I then watched an array of different films by him like the ones with Bruno S, some minimal/difficult ones like Fata Morgana, documentaries that "are like feature films" (Herzog quote again), and so on.

"He seems to have taken a more commercial, mainstream route." - you'll read that all over the place. This film feels completely different to his previous stuff. It's the environment. I'm used to seeing Herzog work in jungles, deserts.. strictly rural, far away from civilization. Albeit this was in New Orleans post-Katrina, but it still felt like New York generally throughout the course of the film. Rescue Dawn didn't have anything Herzog about it. Go watch the documentary Herzog made instead. Bad L did have a Herzog footprint in it, it just isn't as big as his other stuff. It isn't as unique, only in certain scenes. Herzog is eclectic. Looking at what he's produced (even recently) shows that. Looking at his filmograhphy, in the 90s he didn't create many (if not any) feature films: mainly directed operas and documentaries.

BL is a good film. It doesn't hold a special place in my film collection though. I don't know why he's using commercial actors either. I'm not interested in films starring Cage and Mr. Batman, I find that stuff boring. Of course I'm going to speculate Herzog's intentions considering he's used untrained actors before, total psychos, dwarves, homeless people, etc. Well done, you've made a good film that's appealed to the masses unlike some. I'm going to call it eclecticism until he releases something that is typical blockbuster crap.

No comments: