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2009: The year in movies

By PETER KEOUGH  |  December 28, 2009

 

3.Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
As opposed to the situation in Abel Ferrara's 1992 original, the "badness" in Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant isn't moral — it's existential. For Lieutenant Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage), being good is just another compulsion, like smoking crack or cutting off the oxygen supply of an old woman in a rest home. And the ultimate question is not "Why is there evil in the universe?" but rather "What the fuck is that iguana doing on my coffee table?" (The iguanas are kind of like the frogs at the end of Magnolia, except better.) McDonagh is the Dirty Harry of the new millennium, and Cage's performance shows that his soul is still dancing.

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