Martin Scorsese called it the best film of 2009 and one among ten best films of 1990s and well known critic Roger Ebert added its entry in ‘Ten Best Films of the year 2009”; watching it today I fully corroborate with both of them.
One has to keenly wait for next Herzog film but when he delivers it’s just an engaging experience not to be missed. Its edge on the seat film noire kind of thriller which you have to watch for absolutely awesome Nicholas Cage. Without an iota of doubt cage has given one of his career best power packed performance. The only other method acting or film which I would compare with him is Pacino in ‘Scarface’. As a drug addicted, anger on the nose, foul mouth out of control cop investigating homicide case, he just blows your minds off with his intense act & body language. Watch him staring at iguanas or threatening old lady on oxygen (the best one IMO) or creating a scene by breaking up into medical store for his prescribed medicine or raping a woman in parking in the presence of her boyfriend…he’s just one man show here from the very first scene. There are scenes which makes you laugh where one shouldn’t and still I don’t call it black comedy! I scratched my head thinking why he’s not nominated for best actor category in Oscar this year.
Herzog didn’t take much time to enhance the plot & narration; he focused more on feel of dark, seedy life of mean cop from very beginning on the character of Lieutenant Terrence McDonagh. He is the cop out of his reach and gets into serious trouble leading him to self devastation with his inherent rough nature, no second thought act & drug driven fixation. From Freudian interpretation, he’s cop whose id and ego are dominant over his superego. Eva Mendes as hooker girlfriend and Val Kilmer as supporting cop do not have much space where Cage is scene stealer all the way to top.
I haven’t seen Ferrara’s much appreciated ‘Bad Lieutenant’, where Harvey Keitel played the rough cop but I’ll surely catch it soon to compare and analyse.
Ratings- 9/10 (left one for Ferrara’s original)