Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
Newest Articles
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
  Welcome to New York Banged up in the Big Apple
Year: 2014
Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset, Drena De Niro, Amy Ferguson, Paul Calderon, Ronald Guttman, Maria Di Angelis, Paul Hipp, Natasha Romanova, Anh Duong, Shanyn Leigh, Aurelie Claudel, Anna Lakomy, Pascal Yen-Pfister
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: On a business trip in New York French managing director and presidential candidate Devereaux (Gérard Depardieu) cavorts with call girls in front of some unnerved business associates. After an orgy involving a few friends and a harem of glamorous hookers, he checks into a hotel for a night of further debauchery with two beautiful Russian prostitutes. Come the morning, a groggy, hungover but still insatiable Devereaux perpetrates a grotesque assault upon a hotel maid. She reports the incident to the police who promptly arrest Devereaux just as he is about to board the plane back to France. A scandal erupts and while his enraged wife, Simone (Jacqueline Bisset) flies to New York to see what can be done, Devereaux languishes in jail, his career in tatters.

In 2011 Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French economist, politician, member of the Socialist Party and managing director of the International Monetary Fund was arrested in New York for allegedly assaulting a hotel employee. Although charges were subsequently dropped through supposed lack of evidence and a settlement reached with the victim out of court, further allegations of impropriety thwarted Strauss-Kahn's ambition to become the next president of France. Then just as memories of the scandal have begun receding from the international scene, France's most celebrated actor plays a thinly-veiled stand-in for Strauss-Kahn in the latest controversial movie from Abel Ferrara. Opening as the film does with a half-hearted disclaimer, stressing this is inspired by and not strictly recreating events, along with an interview wherein Gérard Depardieu explains his reasons for taking on this role despite his distaste for the real life protagonist, it is perhaps no surprise Strauss-Kahn set out to sue the producers. Oddly, on the grounds of antisemitism of which there is barely a trace in the movie. Although Ferrara accords the victim more dignity and perhaps sympathy than she received in real life, depicting her assault in harrowing yet relatively restrained fashion, his principal interest lies with psychoanalyzing the Strauss-Kahn figure. Interestingly, co-screenwriter Christ Zois, aside from collaborating with Ferrara on The Blackout (1997) and New Rose Hotel (1998), also authored a line of psychiatric self-help books.

Echoing past protagonists from the grindhouse notoriety of The Driller Killer (1979) to art-house controversy of Bad Lieutenant (1992), Devereaux emerges another of Ferrara's tortured souls trapped in an urban hell that is both source, extension and facilitator of his psychotic impulses. In a powerhouse performance, Depardieu plays him as a grunting, heaving brute of a man defined largely by his carnal appetite, prone to paranoia and self-pity yet in more reflective moments a silent despair. He has few redeeming features yet Ferrara musters a significant amount of empathy mining bleak tragi-comedy from scenes where the befuddled Frenchman is herded through the legal system by hard-boiled New York cops and prison guards. It is not quite Monsieur Hulot in Custody but Ferrara leans towards farce with a nod to François Truffaut in the scene where Devereaux laughs uproariously at a key scene in Bed and Board (1970), another film about adultery. "No-one can save anyone because no-one wants to be saved", Devereaux tells his court-appointed psychiatrist towards the finale. Although Ferrara possibly overreaches in theorizing his aberrant behaviour stems from thwarted ideals he does convey a palpable sense of powerlessness and frustration that drive the protagonist towards self-destruction. It is not a film for anyone cynical about sex addiction as a legitimate condition but mounts a persuasive case that wealth and power are far more stifling and joyless than many reason them to be.

Opening with Paul Hipp's mournful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner Welcome to New York is as much about the flip-side of the city as it is about the man. Though removed from the grimy urban hell-holes of Ferrara's grindhouse classics the director still serves up a sleek, soulless metropolis that enables damaged people to indulge their hedonistic impulses until they destroy themselves. It is a film of stark tonal shifts, opening with a lengthy array of scenes where the drug-addled Devereaux snorts and heaves his way through sex with a succession of glamorous call girls that reveal more of Depardieu than one imagines most people would want to see at this stage in his career, before we segue into the almost docu-drama meets Law & Order segment devoted to the police investigation. By contrast the confrontation between Devereaux and his wife (with Bisset on fine form) come across a trifle theatrical while the film also briefly loses its footing with two abrupt detours. First Devereaux embarks on genuine love affair with a beautiful young black law student then (in an incident again drawn from real events) tries to rape a journalist in yet another harrowing scene. Neither side-plot pay off and Ferrara also loses something by neglecting to explore the sociopolitical angle of the Strauss-Kahn incident. This was a man entrusted with managing the IMF after all. Yet the bleak nature of the message, that we are each trapped in a hell of our own making and would not have it any other way, packs a punch.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1283 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Abel Ferrara  (1952 - )

Controversial New York director whose films frequently centre around sex, violence and moral redemption, and often feature Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken or Willem Dafoe. Debuted in 1979 with the infamous Driller Killer, in which he also starred, followed by rape-revenge thriller Ms. 45/Angel of Vengeance. Several slick, less distinctive movies followed - Fear City, China Girl and Cat Chaser, as well as work on TV shows Miami Vice and Crime Story.

1990's King of New York was a return to form, while the searing Bad Lieutenant quickly became the most notorious, and perhaps best, film of Ferrara's career. The nineties proved to be the director's busiest decade, as he dabbled in intense psycho-drama (Dangerous Game, The Blackout), gangster movies (The Funeral), sci-fi (Body Snatchers, New Rose Hotel) and horror (The Addiction). He continued to turn in little-seen but interesting work, such as the urban drug drama 'R Xmas and the religious allegory Mary until his higher profile returned with the likes of Welcome to New York and Pasolini.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash


Last Updated: