Star – Gérard Depardieu
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 125 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA/France
Amazon – £11.33 DVD £16.96 Blue Ray
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The French seem to have no problem with mixing sex and politics in the way the British have a big problem with it, President Macron a great example, the bisexual (allegedly) 39-year-old believed to have had a two year relationship with male industrialists and seduced at 14 by his now 63-year-old wife, his then drama teacher. To put it mildly the French are as kinky as we are conservative. If they haven’t cheated on their wife and pilfered the public purse they don’t seem to be considered for high office. They are all at it.
The king of French infidelity was Dominic Gaston Andre Strauss-Khan, the former French industry minister and head of the International Monetary Fund who was famously accused of molesting a black maid in a New York hotel in 2011 and his lawyers later settled out of court for $1 million dollars (after costs) in a second civil trail after being arrested at JFK. All manner of conspiracy theories followed. Gérard Depardieu was the perfect actor to play the sex obsessed debauched Khan.
It turned out the maid was a hustler and working with organized crime but the damage was done and DSK was finished. Director Adel Ferrara decided three was a movie there and although not a biopic and DSk name not used in the film it’s thinly disguised account of the events to say the least. Following its release – to mixed reviews varying from high praise to outright disgust – Strauss-Kahn said he would sue for slander. His lawyer also complained that the film portrayed his then-wife Anne Sinclair as anti-Semitic. Ferrara even rented the house DSK was under house arrest in for authenticity in his movie. The film also failed to get a US cinema release because the uncut version was too gratuitous and debauched and the US sensors demanded cuts and so the director pulled it on principal.
Gérard Depardieu as Devereaux
Jacqueline Bisset as Simone Devereaux
Marie Mouté as Sophie Devereaux
Amy Ferguson as Renee
Paul Calderon as Pierre
Ronald Guttman as Roullot
Paul Hipp as Guy
Anna Lakomy as Anna
Natasha Romanova as Russian Yelena
Anh Duong as Livia
Pascal Yen-Pfister as Hotel Security Chief
Kathryn Lillecrapp as Bebe
Pamela Afesi as the maid
Monsieur Devereaux (Gérard Depardieu) arrives in Manhattan on big business and soon enjoying champagne, cocaine and expensive prostitutes in a likewise hotel with fellow business men. It’s not the sort of thing the head of the IMF should be doing in such a position. Back at his room to more Russian girls enjoy him and each other.
The next day he is ready to fly out of JFK but after his shower the sex obsessed Devereaux can’t resist his urges and forces himself on the black chambermaid and performs a sex act on her against her will. Maids in nice NY hotels often double up as hoars as its great access to rich clients. But she is clearly not keen and all but rape and after informing the hotel authorities and then the police Devereaux is picked up at the airport and thrown in a NY Prison cell, his one phone call to his wife triggering an international scandal.
Out on a one million dollar bail and on house arrest in Manhattan in a rented mansion for $50,000 a month he and his wife Simone (Jacqueline Bisset) are forced to spend time together to confront his sex addiction. She is extremely ambitious and only stuck with hi over the years for that reason. She knows about the hoar’s and the women but angry it’s out in the open now and playing the wronged wife to the full. But the lawyers will need her to be by his side or it will all go away as he will be in jail and the lawyers will clean him out for previous indiscretions as more and more women come forward.
It’s hard to really know why this film was made. It’s harder still to understand why it was made the way it was, unless the director has some sort of grudge against this guy as it is a real character assignation. The story is told around a witness for the prosecution would see it as the debauched and overweight politician grunts and slobbers like a pig around the women and prostitutes. The gratuitous sex and drug taking that opens the film goes on and on and it feels seedy and unneeded.
The flabby pot bellied Gérard Depardieu is a vulgar fat Brando type sight on screen and he knows it and also seems to have a grudge against DSK in the way that h plays this. It’s just a horrible ugly movie to watch and doesn’t seem to have any point. There are a lot of subtitles to as DSK and his family speaks in French. Also the director doesn’t even want to touch the conspiracy side of things which to m is the most interesting. We knew the French government was monitoring his calls in NY and we also know he was preparing to run for French President in 2012, which this trial quashed.
The maids take on things would also been worth exploring in the film to add another layer as the moment she found out who the guy was who molested her she was on one of her ‘five phones’ to her ‘associates’ to see how much money they could earn from the opportunity. Her asylum seeker boyfriend was in a Brooklyn prison and needed bail money. Is there a criminal network of African and Asian housekeepers all across America stitching up despicable rich guys? But instead we get the
Boring character study if an unlikable man. It’s just hard to recommend this as there isn’t much here and I’m sure a documentary on him would have been far more interesting.
Imdb.com – 5.4 /10.0 (2,866votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 76% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 71% critic’s approval
Chicago Sun Times –‘Few actors in the world are better suited to play a gluttonous pig than Gerard Depardieu, and I mean that in the best possible way one can make such an assertion’.
Los Angeles Times –‘This frank, unruly look at sex, privilege and power unfolds so much like real life that it proves an intriguing and strangely immersive experience’.
New Yorker –‘The movie packs a singular, agonized vision that seems entirely the director's own’.
The Film Stage –‘Welcome to New York is a bold, sometimes absurdly funny, and often-horrifying look into the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair’.
The Times –‘ Grunting and boarlike, Gérard Depardieu supplies a one-note rendition of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Abel Ferrara's peculiarly unilluminating "Welcome to New York.".
The Mail –‘Neither shocking nor illuminating, Welcome to New York comes off merely as hero worship of a terrible man who revels in his abuses of power’.