Tag: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

June 19, 2012 / / Main Slate

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – 2009 – dir. Werner Herzog

When people ask me what I think of Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which is only a few years old but has a justifiable cult following all the same, I hedge a little. I tell them that it’s absolutely great…just not by typical crime drama standards. It is, I explain, a film that makes its own rules, and is a success by its own measure. Roger Ebert (who gave Port of Call four stars) wrote that this is a film that’s “not about plot, but about seasoning. Like New Orleans cuisine, it finds that you can put almost anything in a pot if you add the right spices and peppers and simmer it long enough.” That sounds about right to me. Port of Call fascinates not because of its plot twists, but rather because of its weird flourishes, most of which have already been lovingly catalogued by other critics: scenes shot from an iguana’s eye view, a murdered man’s soul launching into an elaborate break dancing routine, or Shea Whigham as an abusive john who punctuates most of his statements with a throaty, “Oh YEAH!”