This is one of the best films of the year, but judging by the comments here, it's also one of the most under-appreciated and misunderstood.
I loved it. To the horde of naysayers, I simply want to shout from the rooftops, "This is a film dammit, not an exercise in some mysterious media, and it's a damn good one." There. That feels better.
Nicolas Cage finds his inner demons and let's them out to play in his role as the drug addicted cop. He's more than believable as a coke snorting, crack rock smoking fiend who thinks nothing of squeezing people, good guys and bad alike. And by the way, the bizarre mannerisms...yup, that's what drugs will do for you. To my mind, he nailed it! Take one small mannerism, the way he snorts a small pinch of coke from the back of his hand, a flurry of movement, and voilà, an observer would never know. It's inventive Cage and it's priceless. And you won't find many in the real drug world as good at it.
The supporting cast is excellent, although I must admit I did forget Val Kilmer was even it at times.
The texture, the interwoven story lines, the camera work. All superb. It's a Tarrantino film with a Herzog touch. Ask yourself, how many interrogation rooms have you seen on television and in movies? Any of them have windows with traffic outside? Probably not. Good touch and the film has dozens of them.
As for the iguanas and dancing mobster. These are apparitions folks. You know, born of the effects of all those drugs on the brain. They are not symbolic. They are not misguided touches of the bizarre (well, maybe they are a bit). They are the demons of a drug soaked mind and of course they are all of of proportion. That's what demons do! Very entertaining. You want more? Read a book.