Gambler. Thief. Killer. Cop.
Abel Ferrara’s cult classic - from the seedy underbelly of a crime riddled New York City comes the story of a police officer who is almost as morally bankrupt, ethically void and emotionally vacant as the transgressors he is employed to apprehend. Director Abel Ferrara who has gained a wide-spread cult following for his ‘pull-no-punches’, sensationalist style of directing has once again inimitably outdone himself in this crude, hyper real depiction of a depressingly imaginable reality. Following an unnamed cop around the beat, Ferrara destroys any possible belief in law, order and morality. Instead, reality becomes a bleak, hopeless and pessimistic existence where the anti-hero is a hard-drinking, drug-taking, sexually abusing fiend whose only instance of moral repentance comes when he meets a nun who has been raped, yet forgives her attackers. This simple act of compassion alters his view, and drives him to seek justice in the only way he knows how. The most upsetting, yet most important element of Bad Lieutenant is that this depiction is not so far from reality. This is the world we live in, these are the horrific things that happen and we cannot hide from this. Abel Ferrara does not hide, instead opting to show these atrocities in their full, gory detail. The result is a depressingly real depiction of a depressingly real potential reality.