Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Badge (2002) Goober Noir - Neo Orleans Noir - Christmas Noir

Taking a scene right out of one of John D. McDonald's Travis McGee novels, i.e., a naked woman runs out of the swamp directly into the path of Travis' truck Miss Agnes. To avoid hitting her, Travis turns the wheel and skids off the embankment into the canal that parallels the highway.

In the opening sequence of The Badge the truck is a semi. the "woman" is scantily clad and the driver lays the rig over, the semi slides off the slope coming to a stop on its side in a bayou.

Directed and written by Robby Henson, with some excellent cinematography by Irek Hartowicz and with music composed and performed by David Bergeaud and Otis Taylor. It's a nice Neo Noir with some interesting twists.

The principal goober and peckerwood contingent of the cast is comprised by Billy Bob Thornton (Tombstone (1993), Sling Blade (1996), A Gun, a Car, a Blonde (1997), U Turn (1997), A Simple Plan (1998) The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), Bad Santa (2003)) as Parish Sheriff Darl Hardwick, Ray McKinnon as Deputy C.B., Sela Ward (The Fugitive (1993) Westworld TV Series (2016– )) as Carla Hardwick, John "Spud" McConnell (Miller's Crossing (1990), Django Unchained (2012)) as Ornell, and Mark Krasnoff as Squeegee. There are more in minor rolls.

The Wreck

Mona (Cyd Casados)

The rest of the cast has Patricia Arquette (True Romance (1993), Lost Highway (1997)) as Scarlet,  Thomas Haden Church (Tombstone (1993), Killer Joe (2011)) as David Hardwick, William Devane (McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Family Plot (1976)) as the Judge, Julie Hagerty (U Turn (1997)) as Sister Felicia, Marcus Lyle Brown(12 Years a Slave (2013),Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)) as Deputy Jackson, Tom Bower as Bull Hardwick, Hill Harper (NYPD Blue TV Series (1993–2005), CSI: NY  TV Series (2004)), Audrey Marie Anderson, Deana Carter, Michael Hitchcock as Luna, and Cyd Casados as Mona.

Tis the season...

Snake Skin Boots

Sheriff Darl Hardwick (Billy BobThornton)
A boozer. A goober. Sheriff Darl Hardwick, has passed out in his pickup. He's parked ouside of some Mississippi River levee juke joint. He's woke, and goes into the bar. Gets the call about the wreck and heads out. There's shoes strewn all along the embankment and swamp.

Louisiana Bayou Noir
Looks routine, he questions the driver, wants him to take a breath test. He calls one of his constituents who makes connections and as part of the "good ol' boy" network a swarm of locals show up to get a piece of the pie, and get the site cleaned up saving the parish money too boot. Ornell (McConnell) drives up with his wrecker to right the truck.

free shoes

Ornell (McConnell)
Darl's called to the edge of the cypress trees. The body of a woman has been found. The coroner is called. The body hauled off.

"Shazzammm! Sheriff, lookee here" Squeegee (Mark Krasnoff)


He has his crime scene photo man take a Polaroid picture of the body. He takes it and goes about the parish asking if anybody knows her. When Darl gets back to the office, he's called over to the coroners. Twist No 1. When he gets to the examination room he finds out that the she was a he. Actually the coroner explains that the deceased was a transexual. He also discovers that death came only an hour and a half ago from a .22 caliber bullet in the back, and that the victim was still alive while he was handing out shoes. Bummer.

"she got a bigger pecker than me Sheriff!"

D.A. Carla (Ward)
Darl's ex wife Carla (Ward), the parish DA arrives. She chastises him for moving the body. His retort "it was a wreck" when he got there. A couple of hours later a woman named Scarlet (Arquette) arrives looking for a missing person fitting the description of the deceased. Darl thinks she's quite the looker and seeing as how he's been not gettin' any lately, he puts a bit of of a move on Scarlet in the office. He's asks a few questions and then takes her over to the morgue.

Scarlet breaks down seeing the body. It's Mona, she tells Darl. He's filling out a clipboard with paper work. Twist No.2. When Darl asks her relationship to the deceased Scarlet tell's him she's his wife.

Scarlet (Arquette)

So Scarlet make's Darl promise that he'll solve this murder and she drives back down to New Orleans. Being as weird as it is the county powers that be aren't in any kind of mood to commit a lot of time and resources to the case. They figure that Darl's just the man for the job.

Another minor crisis arrives when Darl's crazy drunk father starts running around shooting up things dressed in a Native American headress. He used to be the sheriff until the Judge (Devane) stripped him of the office. He threatens to shoot the Judge.

The town pump Audrey Marie Anderson,

"What's he doing with that slut?"

The Good Samaritan 


Night call from Scarlet
 When Darl's starts showing some ambition and initiative the county political machine decides to put Deputy Jackson (Brown) up for election for Sheriff rather than Darl. They further pay the under aged local town "pump" to frame him for having sex with a minor after the Parish Christmas party. He did  take her to his place since she had nowhere to go, but he slept on the couch.

He gets a call in the middle of the night from Scarlet, she gives him the phone number Mona called from before he/she was killed.

Darl gets arrested when he gets to the office, and is put in jail as a warning to back off. The Parish Machine is angry.

Darl gets out of jail grabs his gun and heads off on his own investigation to Noirsville/New Orleans to find out from Scarlet and Mona's friends and associates who were the last people to see Mona.

Merry Christmas Bro

David (Church)

Luna lt. (Hitchcock)

When he gets to the French Quarter he heads to his brother Davids Adult Video store. David (Church) is gay and runs the place with his partner Luna (Hitchcock). David tells him how to get to the club that Scarlet works at. Darl makes the connection, and with Scarlet as a sort of guide through sexual underworld, starts to solve the case.



The film's whole premise is the fish out of water reactions between the Darl the goober and the various weirdos of the kaleidoscopic sexual revolution. It's entertaining and a hoot in spots. Watch for Darl spying on Scarlet to see if she's packing sausage like her husband Mona. Or Ornell, who is a women's bathroom peeping tom masturbator, get an eyeful, up close and personal, of pecker instead of his customary pussy.

I guess it gives a whole new meaning to the anti transgender hysteria. Where are deviants gonna drill their potty peepholes safely.

Screen caps from the 2004 DVD. 7/10


  1. Good find Joe..... this must've passed under my radar

  2. There are lot of films touted as noirs that really aren't and others that are that fall through the cracks, I found another from Australia, working on it's review at the moment.