Bad Lieutenant, The

MPAA Rating: NC-17

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

The Lieutenant (Harvey Keitel) is a cop given to excess. He's into drugs with street dealers, sells confiscated drugs to his dealer, drinks, and gambles on the World Series excessively. Keitel gives a strong performance as a man sinking in the same cesspool he's supposed to police. But he doesn't glamorize the role as we see his excesses take their toll. While calling the Catholic church a "racket," he confesses to being Catholic. In one excruciating scene, a Catholic nun is raped by two young men on the altar of the church. The Lieutenant is drawn to investigate the rape and is astonished to find the nun has forgiven the men.The nun's attitude of forgiveness makes the lieutenant confront his own excesses and ask for forgiveness. Sadly, at the point where his life has turned around, he is killed in a show of kindness to the nun's attackers. With its emphasis on the perversions of a self destructive man, THE BAD LIEUTENANT is an intense, depressing experience.

Despite its theme of forgiveness, the film is strongly offensive in content, in keeping with its NC-17 rating. In graphic detail, the lieutenant snorts cocaine, smokes crack, injects heroin and frequently drinks liquor. In one particularly offensive scene, he stops two underage girls in a car, verbally degrades them, makes one show her bare buttocks and sexually gratifies himself. Offensive language permeates the dialogue, including the f-word over 70 times and crude rap lyrics. Full frontal nudity, both male and female, is shown several times including once in a brothel and a view of the nun nude in the hospital. The nun's rape is interspersed with a live crucifixion of Jesus and, later, the image of Jesus appears to the Lieutenant. His confession of being weak and asking forgiveness from the figure is unusually powerful. Although the film's tone is depressing, the portrayal of forgiveness and redemption is inspiring.

Preview Reviewer: Paul R. Bicking
Aries Films, 315 W. 57th St., #609, NY NY 10019

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Mild, few times; moderate, several times

Obscene Language: Many(90+) times (f-word 70+, s-word 8-9, other 14)

Profanity: Few times (GD-3)

Violence: Few times - Moderate and severe (graphic rape with crucifixion image, gun shot to scare, bloody corpse shown once, bloody car)

Sex: Once implied (other than rape)

Nudity: Several times (Full front female 2-3 times, full male front once, male rear once, female rear 2-3 times)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Self gratification once

Drugs: Many times (frequent use of drugs and alcohol)

Other: None

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