Welcome to New York Blu-ray Review
The first 10 minutes of WELCOME TO NEW YORK are, to put it simply, gross. Devereaux (Depardieu), a political higher-up, is visiting New York City. His exact visit is uncertain, but the only thing on his mind is sex; Lots and lots of sex. Once he gets to his hotel, he’s led to his room and greeted by two staffers. They offer him champagne and three escorts. He automatically proceeds to grope and taste one of the escorts, leading the charge to a night of debauchery.
The morning after is like the hair of the dog for him, more sex, but this time with a maid. Much like an alcoholic who takes a shot of liquor to get his day going, Devereaux has a round of sex with a woman who will become an afterthought. He has this sex before meeting his daughter and her boyfriend for lunch. His hedonistic lifestyle seeps into his language as he talks with his loved ones. His general debauchery and filthy mind spills into casual conversation, something that seems to embarrass his daughter and shock her boyfriend. It’s mad worse when he’s arrested later in the day for sexual assault because he can’t possibly imagine who it was and he can’t even remember an incident that comes close to the accusations being leveled against him.
The NYPD say that the maid he had fooled around with that morning is his accuser and the life of privilege that Devereaux enjoys slow begins to dissipate. He’s treated like any other criminal in prison and he feels physically humiliated by the cops who are simply looking for any contraband on his person. It seems as though Karma has come back on him, as he becomes the piece of meat, but instead of mistreatment, it feels like he’s getting some much deserved justice.
But WELCOME TO NEW YORK isn’t a perverse story about the repercussions of a care-free, sex-filled lifestyle; it’s a story about the people we put in power and in control. His wife, Simone (Bisset), scolds him, but not in the way you’d expect. Her scolding, which is entirely believable, turns the pig we’ve come to know into a sympathetic monster. If we are to digest her words truthfully, Devereaux was a predacious ticking time bomb with an insatiable lust.
We don’t necessarily need Devereaux to tell us he’s a sex addict, it’s very apparent from the get-go, but Simone’s arrival reveals a darker truth to Devereaux’s murky past. Devereaux may have been born a disgusting human being, but his darkness was consistently being fed by his wife, who also comes off as sympathetic towards the end. WELCOME TO NEW YORK interestingly enough becomes quite the character study.
Bisset and Depardieu’s scenes together are absolutely enthralling. It’s hard to take your eyes off the screen when these two veterans of foregin film go off on each other. Both are highly believable and bring a heavy presence to the characters that are otherwise much cut and copy from real life and other cinematic stories. Without their performances, it’s a very average script and story.
While I’ve heard many things about director Abel Ferrara, most of them bad, I respect someone who’s willing to give an unflinching look at Devereaux. It’s a story that raises plenty of interesting questions. Not everything is black and white, and sometimes the blame is never properly directed. It’s a story that manages to get under the skin of the viewer, but make them think about the potential for redemption. Can a true-to-heart monster be redeemed if he was simply a creation of those around him? Maybe. Maybe not.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:78:1) From the stale looking cell to the vibrant expensive hotel, everything comes through clearly on this blu-ray.
Audio: (English Dolby TrueHD 5.1) The dialogue rich movie is well-balanced, but sometimes the lower speech levels of Depardieu need to be boosted, especially when he switches between English and French.