Welcome to New York
Gérard Depardieu stars as the controversial lead in Abel Ferrara’s corrupt tale of a powerful economic player, in more than one sense of the word. The picture opens by telling the audience that the story they are about to see is based upon a true tale; however the clarity of this message is purposefully blurred to keep the sense of political intrigue. Anyone who has seen the trailer will get an immediate flavour of the illicit sex-filled frenzy of a picture that’s in store for them, raising the question of whether there is any substance behind this racy style.
The film begins in an unrelentingly graphic sexual manner as Devereaux, played by Depardieu, makes Leonardo Di Caprio’s Wolf of Wall Street character Jordan Belfort look like a squeaky-voiced, inexperienced teenager. The brutal sexual detail and thoroughly in-depth scenes are initially so frequent that the viewer almost becomes desensitised to them as Devereaux becomes a visibly vile and grotesque image of a man. The early hideousness of Depardieu’s dehumanised character makes it hard for the viewer to see past anything else as he pants and wheezes his way through endless sexual encounters with little damaging consequence.
The intrigue of the story lies in the contrast of the two halves and the questionable transformation of our lead character. The film has a very raw, unedited feel as there is no soundtrack whatsoever and every scene is stretched out to almost uncomfortable levels, allowing the dialogue to stutter along and the scenes time to breathe. This stripped-back quality adds extra poignancy to the second half the film as the initial sex scenes are swapped for a more consequential drama-driven story as Jacqueline Bisset’s character Simone is also introduced as Derereux’s excellently played sinister wife.
Whilst the uniquely slow-paced style of the film does undoubtedly lend realism it also means it is far too long as the plot becomes flabby and overstretched. The pornographic exposition, as shown in the trailer, will be the obvious talking point and there are moments of genuine shock and cringe as nothing is left to the imagination for Depardieu’s character. The minor triumph of the film is its loyalty to the unerring detail to both the positive and negative aspects of the picture as there is eventually some provided substance.
Welcome to New York is released nationwide on 8th August 2014.
Watch the trailer for Welcome to New York here: