Skip to main content

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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) and is available on Blu-ray & DVD, courtesy of Altitude Film Distribution.

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.