Saturday, May 01, 2010


Director Werner Herzog's disturbing vision of a police officer's descent into the world of drugs and cutting morality and ethics corners after suffering a back injury during the resulting Hurricane Katrina flood in New Orleans is a very compelling film. Yet, this movie barely grossed much more than $1.6 million in only limited theatrical release, even though the great actor Nicholas Cage turns in one of his very best screen performances ever.

Cage's role as a functional drug addict is a complex one in this film. On one hand, he seems highly devoted to his job, and while attempting to do the best job he can, his desire for drugs continually draws him into high risk situations where his lust for drugs competes with his official job. Further, his high risk relationship with a prostitute, played by Eva Mendes, only leads him into more deep problems.

While, indeed a very gritty and tough drama, sometimes the functional drug addict antics of Cage's role are perversely amusing and somewhat funny. Other times, he looks like a brave hero, but only because his drive to find more drugs drives him to that point.

Above all, this a top notch police drama, with Cage at the top of his game. A fine film that won't disappoint you. By all means, buy or rent this DVD.

The Bottom Line: A way above average, if not just an eyelash shy of masterpiece quality drama and easily one of Nicholas Cage's best films by far. How a film like this misses Oscar consideration is a testament to the unfairness of life. +++ 1/2 (Three and a half stars, or just shy of excellent).