PRINT March 1993


ABEL FERRARA TAKES NO PRISONERS—not in conversation and certainly not in the seven feature films he’s directed over the past 13 years, especially his latest epic in degeneration, Bad Lieutenant. Starring Harvey Keitel, Bad Lieutenant tracks a few sorry days in the life of a nameless New York cop who’s going down fast and hard. An alcoholic crackhead on a gambling tear, he’s the kind of guy with one hand on his dick and another that’s always in some shmuck’s pocket. Shot for less than two million dollars, the film has the raw, pulpy texture of great ’70s movies like The French Connection, but with the soul of a medieval miracle play.

Faith, redemption—the words aren’t usually associated with the cheesy material Ferrara tends to chase, whether it’s serial slashers and hookers (Fear City, 1984) or a street Romeo ’n’ Juliet (China Girl, 1987). Still, in his best work—Ms. .45, 1981, King of New

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 1993 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.