User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
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  1. JoshC
    Jan 16, 2007
    10
    A hardcore scuzzmeister elevates himself to a new place with this startling, powerfully restrained portrayal of sin and salvation in godless NY. Keitel's inarticulate maudit philosopher is the most uninhabited performance in this disco inferno that also offers relgious hallucinations. As sordid as the material is, the movie isn't oppressive.
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. 100
    It is not a "dirty movie," and in fact takes spirituality and morality more seriously than most films do. And in the bad lieutenant, Keitel has given us one of the great screen performances in recent years.
  2. 70
    Ferrara is clearly drawing an equation between the criminals' actions and The Lieutenant's, and as trite (and potentially shameless) as this may sound, it actually works.
  3. Despite a glut of luridness, the story line feels essentially flat, as Keitel stumbles through New York in an immoral, unchanging haze. It is only the strength of Keitel's performance that gives his personality human dimension.