Gérard Depardieu is on riveting form in Welcome to New York as a rich, entitled French politician whose rampantly hedonistic life is exposed to the world after he is arrested in New York for sexual assault – much to the fury of his heiress wife (Jacqueline Bisset). He, though, remains unrepentant.
Depardieu’s character is clearly modelled on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF and a potential candidate for the French presidency, whose career was destroyed after he was charged in 2011 with sexually assaulting an immigrant maid in a five-star Manhattan hotel.
Giving the same documentary-style immediacy to a joyless orgy in a luxury hotel suite and an undignified strip search in a prison cell, director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) pulls no punches in depicting his protagonist’s toxic behaviour – and leaves no ambiguity about his guilt.
Like Depardieu’s bull-like naked body, the resulting drama is not a pretty sight but it is queasily compelling
Certificate 18. Runtime 125 mins. Director Abel Ferrara
Welcome to New York debuts today on Sky Cinema Premiere and is available on Blu-ray & DVD, courtesy of Altitude Film Distribution.