A period piece cop drama set in the early 80’s and based on a true story, Bad Country is a B movie that almost earns an A. The story of the two men who took down one of Louisiana’s biggest organized crime rings, it’s gripping to watch. Willem Dafoe stars as Bud Carter, a detective that plays by his own rules to get results. I love watching him play the hard ass cop, it’s a role that suits him well. His costar is Matt Dillon playing an ex-military/convict who turns states evidence after his brother is killed in prison by his boss. The crime boss, Lutin, is played by Tom Berenger in a fat suit pretending to be Dom Delouise. Amy Smart has a small role as Dillon’s wife who gives birth as he’s getting arrested and gets blown up to send Dillon on the warpath at the end.
While Dafoe is always fantastic and Dillon is the best he’s looked in years in this role, Berenger isn’t the least bit intimidating or believable as the crime boss. The way he goes in and out of a shitty Creole accent completely blows his credibility. He tried I guess, but he should have tried harder. There is one instance where the accent comes and goes a few times in the same monologue.
I really can’t say enough good things about Matt Dillon in this movie. He’s always struck me as a little goofy in everything he’s done. Even when he tries to play it straight and hard he comes off goofy, I think it has something to do with his voice and cadence. That’s not the case in this movie, he is very believable as the white trash ex-con trying to make right.
Some things are just written weirdly, Chris Marquette as douchey Special Agent Martin Fitch ordering a weird dressing for his salad at a podunk diner making Dafoe’s character instantly hate him is one. Marquette’s whole character is just annoying, maybe he was written that way, maybe it was just Marquette’s performance. There is also a weird sub-plot concerning the reconciling of Dafoe’s character and his estranged father, who look to be about the same age. The movie also showcases the dick-measuring competition that results from incompetent government agencies trying to work together.
If it wasn’t for Dillon’s brilliant portrayal and Dafoe’s tour de force performance this movie would be wholly unwatchable. Unless you want to laugh at Berenger’s gawdawful on again off again accent. How this guy keeps getting work is beyond me. But you should watch this movie, Matt Dillon needs the love. Grab it from Redbox, VOD, or where ever you get your movies from.