Welcome to New York | Film review - Gérard Depardieu's scandal-hit politician is queasily compelling

Welcome To New York Gérard Depardieu
(Image credit: NICOLE RIVELLI photographie 2)
(Image credit: NICOLE RIVELLI photographie 2)

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.


Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.