A short post that has absolutely nothing to do with football

Having provoked the eloquent tribalist ire of my fellow blogger, I think it’s time to leave posts about the kicking of a many-panelled spherical object to one side, at least until the World Cup begins (and I find that Stef is actually Dutch, or something).

As a salve for the still-bitter sting of the Robins’ defeat on Saturday, last night I went to see the film Bad Lieutenant, starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes and directed by Werner Herzog. It’s a loose remake of the 1992 Abel Ferrara movie which had Harvey Keitel in the lead role.

My cinema of choice? The world’s poshest screening venue, the unintentionally hilariously-named ‘Everyman’ in Hampstead, where you sit in sofas surrounded by the most horrendously self-entitled, over-privileged, late-middle-aged audience you can imagine: grey-haired women with ‘funky’ trainers and men with faces weathered from too much time on yachts, their bellies swollen by excessive consumption of cheese. Still: once the lights go down you forget they’re there, and I must admit to enjoying the chance to drink a G&T at the cinema. And anyway the ODEON on Holloway Road wasn’t showing the film. Alright?

Back to the film: it’s slick, sexy, mildly deranged and atmospherically charged (almost literally: the director does a great job of evoking the muggy closeness of the Deep South, not least with an outstanding soundtrack). I wish other reviews hadn’t flagged up one particular reptile-related scene, because its shock and surreality would’ve been more effective if they hadn’t. There are brilliant turns amongst the supporting cast from such under-rated actors as Brad Dourif, Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s ‘Mom’) and, yes, Val Kilmer.

Many of the reviews rightly focus on Cage’s central performance, which is certainly mesmerising. For some reason I went into the film expecting a kind of Pacinoesque scenery-chewer of grandstanding and excess. But actually I think the secret of Cage’s success is that he keeps the physical and verbal tics and minor explosions to the bare minimum required, and delivers a portrayal that’s actually quite sad and often subdued. So go see it. Just not at the Everyman.


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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