Anger, pain and guilt all over Harvey Keitel’s face in Abel Ferrara’s The Bad Lieutenant

Take another look at…The Bad Lieutenant

Picture a booze-soaked cop so bad he sexually harasses two female motorists.

Picture a beautiful nun so compassionate she forgives two Chicanos who rape her with a crucifix.

Picture a New York even darker than that suggested by Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.

Now you have an idea about the screen world of The Bad Lieutenant, an intensely Catholic tale with explicit depictions of sin and heartfelt efforts at salvation.

The Bad Lieutenant is directed by Abel Ferrara from a script by his wife, actress Zoe Lund.

They weave a tale about a cop drifting out of control on the mean streets of New York.

The cop has some bad habits.

He freebases coke.

He shares needles.

He steals drugs and money from crime scenes.

He places illegal baseball bats with his friends’ money.

And he owes his bookie tens of thousands of dollars.

Salvation begins, sort of, when the cop hunts down the nun’s rapists.

There is a $50,000 reward at stake and a chance to fathom the nun’s level of compassion and forgiveness.

Harvey Keitel gives the performance of his life as the depraved cop.

Frankie Thorn embodies virtue as the nun.

And Ferrara brings a gritty visual style to the film.

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