SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 70 Discussion - Bad Lieutenant | Page 3

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by shadow_priest_x, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. MacDuffle Brown Belt

    MacDuffle
    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Messages:
    4,074
    Likes Received:
    8,785
    Location:
    Aberdeen, in Exile
    A ton of people missed the point of this film

    Break it down into the essentials:

    • Keitel's leiutenant is rocked by the discovery that the nun can wholeheartedly forgive her rapists.
    • Prior to the nun, he is a self-deprecating guy who can see all the wrong in everything he does, and takes comfort in being 'beyond saving' - it allows him to act badly without thinking too hard on it. His bad behavior is well adjusted, before he takes the nun's case.
    • Again, the nun's complete and unflinching forgiveness is what begins to rattle him. He keeps asking her about this, trying to get her to show a vindictive or more human side to it
    • The bad lieutenant is rattled from the purity of the nun's forgiveness - it makes him reflect on whether some higher power might just possibly forgive him whether he wants it or not, and that purity scares and confuses him
    • The scene in the church when he rails against his life and kisses the feet of "christ" should tell you all you needed to know about that shit
     
    #41
    shadow_priest_x and CEROVFC like this.
  2. the muntjac Brown Belt

    the muntjac
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Messages:
    4,374
    Likes Received:
    1,215
    Location:
    Planet Scumdogia. That's way past Uranus, buddy!
    I wasn't.

    I can understand that from a story perspective, but I also feel it could have been told better with a tighter script. The establishment of him being a guy strung out on drugs gets a little old.
     
    #42
    CEROVFC likes this.
  3. jeicex Tactleneck Enthusiast

    jeicex
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    21,605
    Likes Received:
    25,088
    Location:
    The Danger Zone
    Plenty of words can describe this one, most of which have already been used. Raw, gritty, brutal, and very Hobbes-ian. Life is nasty, brutish and short. This is the case for everyone around LT. We know right out of the gate that he's a bad lieutenant, as if the title wasn't enough. More on that later.

    I think of Harvey Keitel as the perfect supporting actor. He can be the authority figure or the fixer or the guy who just solves everyone's problems and has all the right answers. He's been typecast through Tarentinos and other crime flicks during his time as an actor, but I'm sure he must enjoy playing the part. Also, he played Judas in Last Temptation of Christ, and now he's dealing religion all over again in this one. I'm sure there are parallels but I'm not interested in delving into religion and making those connections.

    I too have issues with the way the story was presented. It was just...a series of unfortunate events. Every situation a little more terrible than the last, and there was no real redemption either. I don't know if his forgiveness by sparing the rapists and sending them on their merry way was redemption, given that he not only didn't do his job, but he sent criminals away with money to do crime elsewhere. Maybe from a spiritual sense he finally came around, that whole catholic thing etc, but there was no justice. I suppose that's another theme of this flick, there are no happy endings. He finally feels at piece and gets smoked.

    This is one of those stories about a descent into madness. He already starts unhinged and with a drug problem, but everything really spirals out of control when he starts to owe more money because of his gambling debts and more and more drugs. He goes from booze quickly to coke, crack, and heroin all in 90 minutes. That's a party. And yes, to echo something said above, Keitel played the role like he's been on many a bender before. Has he written an autobiography? If so, I'd love to read it. I'm sure he has some serious stories. But, back to the picture, I can see why Werner Herzog would pick up on a picture like this and admire the madness (as he and Kinski had done some of those before) even though he claims to have never seen it. Right. Using the name of a popular film as a quasi not really related but similar film is like American Psycho 2, you're not fooling anyone.

    Seeing that Walken was supposed to play the character makes me think this would have a massively different feel if it were Walken instead of Keitel. Reading SPX's trivia (yeah, I do read that) I saw that this was supposed to be somewhat of a comedy. Good lord. Were there any significant comedic moments in this? It could have used some levity since it felt soul-crushing, but maybe it would have felt out of place if the situations he got into ended up as almost hijinks.

    Some of the scenes really drag on forever, especially the drug scenes. I'm not sure we need several minutes watching a character transform into their drug induced state in order to keep things real. We get how real they are. He's got a cigar box full of money and a tall rail thin redhead doing H with him, that tells the story alright.

    I noticed a distinct lack of music for a lot of this film, which made those aforementioned scenes drag on even longer. The silence was deafening at times. I don't necessarily mean that someone plays Zep's "Dazed and Confused" while he shoots up, but not even a foreboding or otherwise present score would have been welcomed.

    Honestly though, this character is so repugnant that its only real saving grace is that Keitel performs like a pro. He really gives the role a great perspective, considering how bad to the core LT is. Not many actors would be able to pull off something brutal like this. I can't imagine Nic Cage did this type of character justice, even though we've seen his own life explode on screen time and time again. Something as bleak as I dunno, The Weather Man or Lord of War or even that movie where he falls in love with Cher, isn't quite to the level of depravity that LT gets here.

    I just feel bummed out after watching a picture like this. I don't feel that all is right in the world or that things make sense, and instead that things just happen. Bad things happen to bad people too, so I guess that's a relief, right? Although we could say that he got away with doing all of his bad things, and the one time he tries to do something "good" he gets killed right after. 7/10 I guess.


    Watching this, however, does get me re-hyped for that film The Irishman that is coming out in a year or two on Netflix. You know, the one directed by Scorsese with DeNiro, Pacino, Pesci, John Huston's grandson, and Keitel? All of the guys will be about 75+ besides Huston's grandson so I'm cautiously optimistic that it's interesting and not sad that they're so old now. Let's hope they still bust some heads and isn't a depressing fall into retirement like that Righteous Kill flick about ten years ago where they were just sad and phoning it in. I'd love to see them all together living it up one last time. Please let this work.
     
    #43
    shadow_priest_x likes this.
  4. jeicex Tactleneck Enthusiast

    jeicex
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    21,605
    Likes Received:
    25,088
    Location:
    The Danger Zone
    And no, I don't want to talk about his howl towards the end. It is what it is.
     
    #44
    shadow_priest_x likes this.
  5. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    35,264
    Likes Received:
    19,095
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I would argue against this. You have to remember that the director is a Catholic and directing from a Catholic perspective. So in the world of the film, I think we're supposed to understand that he gets smoked but inherits eternal life in the process.

    As the Bible says, "What good does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul?" In this movie we see the opposite: He loses his life in this world but presumably makes it into heaven.

    So it's kind of like the darkest happy ending, but still a happy one.

    Leaving Las Vegas would probably be an even better film to reference.

    LOL. I suspect the howl is probably one of those things that outwardly the critics praise but inwardly they realize it actually seems kind of silly.
     
    #45
  6. Dolomite Red Belt

    Dolomite
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2005
    Messages:
    8,187
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    You wanna know who was fucking great in BLPOCNO?

    This guy:

    <{outtahere}>
     
    #46
  7. jeicex Tactleneck Enthusiast

    jeicex
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    21,605
    Likes Received:
    25,088
    Location:
    The Danger Zone
    I don't know if I'll ever be able to review a film in a religious context/perspective. I may make references here and there but having been without religion for basically my whole life I don't know if I can force myself to see things their way. It's one of the reasons Left Behind is one of the worst films I've ever seen. And no, not even "so bad it's good" either. Just bad, like Superbabies bad.

    To me, dying senselessly by a random driveby shooter (who may have been the hitman the debt collector referred to but maybe not) doesn't leave me with a lasting impression of "well at least he has heaven to look forward to." When characters die in films (as they tend to do), the last thing I'd ever think about is their potential afterlife experiences. I know they pushed that issue when he knelt and cried before a bleeding seemingly pissed off looking Jesus, but it fell flat for me.

    I always forget that was him.


    It struck me as the sound an actor makes that can't force themselves to cry.
     
    #47
  8. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    35,264
    Likes Received:
    19,095
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I know you've mentioned being Jewish before. I take it then that you were not raised within the religious faith of Judaism, you're just a Jew ethnically?

    LOL. I've never seen Left Behind, but I remember thinking it did not look great.

    The problem with a lot of Christian cinema is that the filmmakers just aren't very skilled. A lot of it is simply low-budget, fairly low-level stuff.

    But one recent film that is overtly Christian while also being actually a pretty good movie is Risen with Joseph Fiennes. I would challenge you to watch that one and see if you are just unable to recognize the quality of the filmmaking, even if you are not a Christian believer.





    Another one that was not quite on Risen's level but was at least better than the usual stuff you get out of the Christian film industry is The Case for Christ.





    Of course to the Catholic believer this existence is just a very brief pit stop en route to our eternal destiny. It really doesn't matter a whole lot. It's where we go after we leave this world that truly matters.

    I was raised in a Christian household and still think there may be some kind of afterlife so it's not a concept I have to struggle with very much. And it's definitely my take on the film that we are to understand that he "got right with God" in the knick of time, finding salvation for his soul. Despite how depraved the film is in many respects, it's ultimately a Christian redemption story. I think to try to read it any other way is to misjudge the intentions of the director.
     
    #48
  9. jeicex Tactleneck Enthusiast

    jeicex
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    21,605
    Likes Received:
    25,088
    Location:
    The Danger Zone
    Yes sir, that's it. It's in the blood.


    Don't bother with it. But I think that's a good point, the budgets don't give them much to work with, and the talent just isn't there. But films based on religious content have also mostly fallen flat for me, only one I can think that I somewhat enjoyed was Last Temptation, thanks to the acting and not the story. And by religious content, I mean the Judeo-christian stylings, and not ancient Sumerian gods named Gozer.


    Gotta be honest, those pictures don't interest me.


    Yep, and that's where it loses me. The endgame of this picture was that no matter how bad someone is, they can still receive salvation if...they plead for it? I still don't know how he earned his way into heaven by pleading for forgiveness and doing what some could consider to be one good deed. I don't know if I would call letting those two rapists go a good deed, considering he's still a cop at day's end and they raped a nun. He did just about everything a cop shouldn't do, and yes perhaps duty to god is greater than duty to man, but why would he deserve admission into a good afterlife after the events of this picture? If it's all about the bigger picture, it sure felt like the little one to me.
     
    #49
  10. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    35,264
    Likes Received:
    19,095
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    How about The Exorcist?

    Fair enough.

    Risen is quite good though, at least I thought so.

    I think it's important to understand what the Christian message actually is.

    Christianity teaches that in fact you CANNOT "earn" your way into heaven. Instead, salvation is a gift from God. It's an act of grace.

    But God gives you a choice: You can either accept this gift and choose to walk with him or you can reject it and go your own way. Keitel's character had been a man who had gone his own way all his life, but in the moment when he breaks down and asks for God's help he is accepting the gift of God's forgiveness and reconciling himself with God.

    You said, "I don't know if I would call letting those two rapists go a good deed, considering he's still a cop at day's end and they raped a nun." You have to remember that the nun herself said that forgiveness is the only proper course. The Bible says, "If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." It also says, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

    The nun is the embodiment of perfect Christian forgiveness. Do the rapists DESERVE to be forgiven? No. But she forgives nonetheless, just as God had forgiven her for her shortcomings.

    No one stands blameless before God; we all have ways in which we've fallen short in our lives. But Christianity teaches that the way of love, forgiveness and reformation is superior to that of vengeful punishment. Keitel's character struggles to wrap his head around this but some part of him ultimately sees the wisdom in it and is doing his best to live according to the lesson he's received.
     
    #50

Share This Page

monitoring_string = "fd5733925866a04e50edd70f38dfaa35"
monitoring_string = "603ac9fff68f23709f2a42bf5e29272b"