Smalltown louisiana sheriff darl must put aside his own personal prejudices when he must investigate the murder of a transgender lingerie model found in the swamp. Darl teams up with the victims wife scarlett a stripper wh... more »o provides his ticket into a strange sexual underworld. Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 05/25/2004 Starring: Billy Bob Thornton Sela Ward Run time: 103 minutes Rating: R« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 2/23/2014...
The Badge is one of those underrated and mostly overlooked films that is especially good! Acting and writing are top quality and it will keep you interested from beginning to end. Billy Bob Thornton is, as always, in top form as the average man caught up in bad politics and family relationships yet he manages to keep his dignity and prove to be best man for the job.
Patricia Arquette, beautiful as usual, comes to this small Louisiana town in search of her husband who just happens to be a transsexual that has been found dead. Evidence finally points to the local good ole boy club where the judge (William Devane) and other high ranking local politicos play hard. When The Badge (of Sheriff) is taken from Thornton he still works the case, traveling to New Orleans to find out how and why the murder happened. Full of twist turns plus a well written and acted script!
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Politics and family - southern style...
J. Fryer | Nicholasville, KY | 07/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reminiscent of "Monster's Ball" once again Billy Bob Thornton plays a man who is forced to confront his prejudices and deal with the idiosyncrasies of his dysfunctional family members in "The Badge", to be released in September, DVD to soon follow, no doubt.Thornton's homophobic character (Darl Hardwick), following in the footsteps of his father, Bull, (Tom Bower), wears the badge of sheriff in the LeSalle parish in Louisiana. In addition to his hard-drinking father, Darl's family consists of: estranged wife, Carla (Sela Ward) [in what may be one of the most bizarre casting decisions ever made], who just happens to be the local district attorney; daughter Ashley (Jena Malone); and brother David (Thomas Hayden Church), ran out of the parish by Billy Bob. LeSalle is populated by sharply drawn characters that embody all that is the deep south: Sister Felicia (Julie Haggarty); corrupt Judge Pendergast (William Devane); Ornell, the owner of a gas station with a pay phone in front; and once again Billy Bob's friend from Arkansas, Rick Dial, appears in the character of Doc, local M.E. of sorts.As a small-town sheriff fighting big-time crooked politics, so prevalent in deep south, as well as his own dissolving reputation and narrow-minded bigotry, Hardwick becomes entangled in solving the case of the death of a transsexual, Mona, from New Orleans. Murdered in the swamps of his jurisdiction, embracing a life-style that he loathes, and carrying baggage of her own, as well as a Jesus tattoo, Mona in death becomes the leader of Hardwick's journey through the colorful streets of New Orleans, the gaudy transvestite clubs, and into the company of a stripper called Scarlett (Patricia Arquette). As the investigation continues, the entanglements of dirty politicians, the untangling of years-old family conflicts, and a clearer understanding of those who populate the sex-conflicted world of the victim, the Sheriff finds more than the killer. He finds within himself a kinder man. A man who can not only accept others as they are, but a man who has a better understanding of himself as well.Dithering about the main plot there is; shoe-thievery, a 'born-again' fighting again the impending construction of a local casino (assisted by the Sheriff's father armed with a shotgun and decked out in Indian head-dress), the loss of the sheriff's sunglasses, and other local small town intrigues and interactions.This film richly populated with interesting and vivid characters presents a whodunit (the resolution of which isn't all that easy to see coming), and treats us to great Louisiana music and local New Orleans scenery. As always, Billy Bob Thornton 'becomes' his character. He settles into the sheriff's uniform, and the less than admirable psyche of his character as if he were born there, and then every so subtly unveils the changed man. All made to look so easy we each think we could be actors ourselves.If you're a Billy Bob Thornton or Patricia Arquette fan, or you just enjoy a good murder mystery with atmosphere so thick you can feel the suck of the swamp, you will want to get a copy of this DVD as soon as it is released."
A sleeper with some big-name actors and a plot about confron
Jessica Lux | Rosamond, CA | 01/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"(I am slightly confused about why this movie is called "Badge" on Amazon and "The Badge" on IMDb and the rental site Netflix.) That being said...The Badge is a movie about small-town Louisiana politics, about family struggles, about coming to terms with suicidal mothers and homosexual brothers, and about the life-long struggle for justice in crimes against strippers and transsexuals. The plot focuses on the murders of a New Orleans transsexual within the conservative LaSalle parish. The reigning politicos of the parish don't want the alcoholic, local-boy sheriff (played by Billy Bob Thornton) to investigate the matter _too_ seriously and draw too much negative attention to the parish. Sheriff Billy Bob is willing to play along with the game until his party tries to run him off the ticket for the next election.
The action is truly about Billy Bob's sheriff character finding his own true self among the corrupt local and state politicians. He manages both to find himself and to serve justice to the underground sex community (which serves the state politicians in a no-questions-asked deal).
The filmmakers perfectly portray the atmosphere of lose parishes in Louisiana. The viewer will be absorbed into the good-old-boy network of doing business, as well as the desperation of anyone who tries to buck the system or hurt Louisiana's political advancement.
Anyone who enjoys this movie should check out Billy Bob Thornton in the sleeper Chyrstal. "
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED FROM THIS ONE! QUITE MEMORABLE!
Craig Chilton | Evansdale, Iowa | 06/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent acting, direction, writing, editing, photography and a story full of the unexpected. This one is memorable for several reasons. Number one...the twists, you will be surprised throughout this film because it doesn't go in the direction you think it will. Try to guess what's going to happen a scene or two ahead and you can't. Billy Bob plays a very believable, somewhat lethargic lawman who'd just as soon take a nap in his pickup as solve a bizarre crime. Number two... the conflict, Billy Bob vs. the powers that be who want a baffling crime to remain unsolved. In most films Southern Politics either makes for good drama or it comes off as silly and pretentious. In this case it's the basis for numerous tense situations involving ethical questions. Number three...the humor, drama just doesn't work as well without it and this film gives the giggles when it counts.Overall, this is one of the most underrated, overlooked films of 2002 and I'm glad I came across it on the new releases shelf at Hollywood Videos. If you want to get drawn into a different sort of mystery, this one will do it for you. It's refreshing to see Billy Bob, Sela Ward, Patricia Arquette and a few other big names show off their talents outside of the predictable Hollywood Blockbuster loop. Kudos to writer/director Robby Henson on another successful film project. I hope to see more from him soon."
Thought provoking theme but a but a bit oversimplified.
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 01/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Billy Bob Thornton stars in this this 2002 TV movie that is now available on DVD. He's cast as a sheriff in a small Louisiana town and he has lots of personal problems. It seems that a woman is found dead. But when the coroner examines her, he discovers it's really a man. Now the plot thickens as the politicos want to keep the fact of this transvestite being murdered in their town out of the papers. This is not going to happen though because Patricia Arquette shows up looking for the murdered person as she considers herself the murdered person's "wife". In spite of pressure of leaving the investigation alone, Billy Bob travels to New Orleans where Patricia Arquette works in a men's bar. There's more to the story of course and a lot of subplots. Eventually, of course, justice prevails.I consider Billy Bob Thornton a fine actor. His presence alone brings up the quality of this film and the theme was a bit thought provoking. I could never consider this a work of art but I enjoyed the experience of watching it."
Interesting southern thriller
J. Houzet | Chicago, IL | 07/29/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I hadn't even heard of this little thriller before I saw it on the video shelves. I was drawn to it by the star presence of Billy Bob Thornton, Sela Ward and Patricia Arquette. They don't disappoint. It was nice to see them in an independent little potboiler involving murder and politics in steamy Louisiana.
Billy Bob is a small town sheriff whose "good old boy" handling of a truck accident uncovers something more unpleasant - the murder of a transsexual dancer. It turns out the dancer was present at a party that could implicate the Democrat governor and upset the town rich guy's plans to build a casino. Billy Bob's position as sheriff becomes inceasingly precarious as he changes his mind about a murder investigation he initially didn't want to put much effort into.
There are a lot of twists and turns as the sherrif moves from self-preservation to seeking true justice. There is even some humor, not all of it intentional. One scene where I laughed out loud is when Arquette's character tells Thornton's sheriff that she and the dead she-male were married. That was even before the weirdness of the situation registers on Thornton's face.
William Devane delivers a satisfying performance as the rich guy manipulating local politics. Sela Ward is good in a small if predictable role as Thornton's ex-wife, now the assistant DA. It's an entertaining film, but the ending is a bit too melodramatic and preachy to get a higher star rating."