Archive for December 8th, 2013

by Mike Norton

It’s 1992, and New York City is bleeding. The streets are exhausted from having fought a war on drugs a decade earlier, and homicide rates, which peaked at the beginning of the decade, are still lingering around all-time high numbers. In Los Angeles, the notorious Rodney King riots were the culmination of pent up rage towards law enforcement that could be felt around the country. Cocaine, heroin, weed, whatever drugs you want, were spewed throughout the streets, no doubt fueling the murder rate and general unease of the community. Abel Ferrara’s film Bad Lieutenant captures this milieu, painting NYC as an oasis of sin and lost souls looking for redemption in all the wrong places. The type of place where throats are cut for the cocaine in the backseat, or nuns are raped, or teenage girls are killed in their cars, or teenage girls are sexually abused in their cars by bad cops. Unlike the New York of Ferrara’s earlier crime film, King of New York, which was presented more or less as a really big playground for one man to manipulate, the New York of Bad Lieutenant is a hell-on-earth wasteland.


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