Bad Lieutenant : Port of Call New Orleans

20092hr 01minsR, ,

Terence McDonagh is a drug- and gambling-addled detective in post-Katrina New Orleans investigating the killing of five Senegalese immigrants.

In August 2005, Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) is a New Orleans police sergeant. While cleaning out a locker after Hurricane Katrina, he notices that a prisoner may not have been transferred. When he finds the prisoner about to drown, he mocks him before eventually jumping in the water to save him. He is promoted to police lieutenant and given a medal for his work, but has suffered a serious back injury because of the rescue. As a result, he is prescribed Vicodin to manage the pain.

Six months later, McDonagh is now not only addicted to painkillers, but is habitually using several other drugs including cocaine and cannabis. His girlfriend Frankie Donnenfeld (Eva Mendes), a prostitute, also does cocaine and they often share drugs. He has convinced Heidi (Fairuza Balk), a former co-worker now in another police division, to bring him drugs sent to the evidence room. He has become estranged from his father Pat (Tom Bower), a recovering alcoholic, and his alcoholic stepmother, Genevieve (Jennifer Coolidge). Over the course of the film, he uses his position as an officer to bully people and steal more drugs.

McDonagh is assigned to investigate the murders of five illegal immigrants from Senegal, who were killed for selling drugs in a gang leader’s neighborhood. The gang leader, Big Fate (Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner), has two associates: Midget (Lucius Baston) and G (Tim Bellow). After both are arrested, Big Fate willingly comes to the police station with his lawyer. As they try to gather evidence against Big Fate, McDonagh goes back to a hotel room where he finds Frankie beaten by one of her clients, a seemingly well-connected man named Justin (Shea Whigham). McDonagh threatens Justin and takes $10,000 from him. Later on, a delivery boy who was an auditory witness of the murder scene goes missing. McDonagh finds the witness’s grandmother, who works at a nursing home, and threatens to kill one of her patients to make her divulge where the witness has gone. The old woman has sent him to stay with her family in England, to prevent him from getting involved in gang affairs.

In addition to dealing with the murder investigation, McDonagh gets in trouble with his bookieNed (Brad Dourif) for not paying his debts. What little money McDonagh has is given to a gangster who works for Justin. The gangster (William M. Finkelstein) now requests $50,000 – five times the amount stolen from Justin – as compensation, and gives McDonagh two days to get it. As a result of his treatment of the old woman, McDonagh is on modified duty and his gun placed in the evidence room. McDonagh goes to Big Fate and they become partners, with McDonagh supplying Big Fate with police information. McDonagh now has enough money to pay off his debts to his bookie and uses his surplus earnings to place a new bet. During a celebration of the successful partnership between McDonagh and Big Fate, the gangster shows up, demanding his money. McDonagh offers him a cut worth more than $50,000 from a bag filled with pure heroin, but the gangster wants to take it all. Big Fate and his crew end up killing the gangsters.

To further celebrate their partnership, McDonagh implores Big Fate to smoke crack cocaine with his “lucky crack pipe.” He does, and McDonagh later plants the pipe at the murder scene of the Senegal family. The department uses this new evidence to arrest Big Fate and his cronies, but when he and McDonagh are alone with Big Fate, McDonagh’s partner, Stevie Pruit (Val Kilmer), threatens to kill Big Fate, as Pruit does not want him to have the chance to escape conviction. McDonagh is outraged at this idea and arrests Big Fate, showing that despite his addictions he can still perform his duties as an officer. McDonagh is later promoted to police captain.

One year later, McDonagh appears to be sober, as does Frankie (who is pregnant with McDonagh’s child) and McDonagh’s parents, but it turns out that McDonagh is still taking heroin. He encounters the prisoner whom he saved at the beginning of the film, and the man, recognizing McDonagh, exclaims that McDonagh saved his life. The man has been sober for almost a year and offers to help McDonagh finally escape his own addiction. McDonagh simply asks, “Do fish have dreams?” The film ends with the two men in the Aquarium of the Americas sitting on the floor with their backs against a wall-sized fish tank.

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