Welcome to New York

"Excellent"

Welcome to New York Review


Both this film and its central character are so unapologetic that it's difficult to get either out of your head long after the final credits roll. A fictionalised version of a notorious real story, this is an unflinching account of how the rich and powerful live seemingly above the law. Until they crash with a thud so loud it's heard around the world. And as an exploration of how money and privilege corrupt the soul, this film is essential viewing, no matter how uncomfortable it is to watch.

At the centre is Devereaux (Gerard Depardieu), the corpulent head of the World Bank, whose life is a whirlwind of prostitutes, drugs and wild sex parties, even as he still has hopes of one day becoming president of France. Then in a five-star suite in a Manhattan hotel, he unthinkingly assaults a maid (Pamela Afesi). And he has no idea why he's being arrested in a media frenzy. He calls his wealthy wife Simone (Jacqueline Bisset) for bail him out, and she reluctantly drops her charity work to fly to New York and rent a house for them for the duration of his trial, standing by his side for the cameras, along with his daughter Sophie (Marie Moute). But Devereaux is so sure his political connections will get him off that he remains utterly unrepentant.

Depardieu is astonishing in the role, giving a fearless performance as a man who is so self-absorbed that he can't even begin to think that his actions might hurt someone. Consequences don't matter to him, because he's always done whatever he wants. And Depardieu is utterly transparent in every scene, most memorably when he is strip-searched by the cops and, even more disturbingly, when he mauls a young journalist (Shanyn Leigh) interviewing him about the trial. Opposite him, Bisset is radiant and fierce as a woman worn down by her infant-like husband, but standing by him against her better judgment. Their bristly conversations in the final act play out in long takes that are seriously gripping.

Director-cowriter Abel Ferrara isn't a filmmaker who shies away from controversial topics or characters, and that's exactly what makes this chilling film so important. It's a casual depiction of the moral vacuum where global leadership should be, and it's difficult to watch this film without believing that the reality is probably a whole lot worse. But Ferrara is also exploring society at large: we can't just sit back and point the finger at corrupt leaders when these same callous attitudes infect all layers of society. Although starting with the politicians seems like a pretty good idea.



Welcome to New York

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 125 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 17th May 2014

Production compaines: Wild Bunch

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Adam Folk

Starring: as Devereaux, as Simone, as Entourage Member, as Renee, as Pierre, as Guy, as Roullot

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