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Bad Lieutenant (1992) Dir: Abel Ferrara

Spiritual crisis in extremis. Keitel and Ferrara, risk takers in their respective fields. The result was, is explosive. Difficult, disturbing, confrontational, moving truthful, unforgettable. It makes Werner Herzogs/ Nicolas Cage’s impromptu 2009 remake look like an English tea party.

Burning with fury, anger, confusion, souls are laid bare with Kietel as Ferrara’s fearless, finely tuned instrument hitting notes very few actors can play. They take us on a journey through one mans inferno, a tortured, cracked sinful universe in constant motion where relief is an empty promise, temporal and lonely.

The possibility of hope, redemption falls upon him and he seizes upon it like a drowning man gasping for air. A lapsed Catholic, his conscience is reawakened by the brutal rape of a young nun by a two young men and absolution seems possible. But he is thrown into complete despair upon confronting the nun about her attackers. She is without anger or hatred towards these young men and has forgiven them for their actions.

He realizes that one good deed will not magically rid him of his crippling guilt and shame nor make him any less of a criminal than those two kids and the conflict within, his inability to accept who he is and to forgive himself manifests itself in a startling vision and a scene of quite visceral emotional power.

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