Thursday, August 07, 2014

Welcome to New York

The first 20 minutes or so of Welcome to New York is semi-pornographic and 2 men sitting on my left walked out just before the scene that made Dominique Strauss-Kahn infamous and ruined his career as managing director of the IMF and potential future President of France.

Welcome to New York is a film based around the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair, with the characters names changed and a fictional version of events that are not public record. It is a caricature of Strauss-Kahn rather than a sympathetic portrayal. Gérard Depardieu plays George Devereaux (the Strauss-Kahn like character) and Jacqueline Bisset plays his wife.

George Devereaux is an elderly French playboy bureaucrat, which looks as odd as it sounds. He surrounds himself with call girls at work and at night. Life appears to be a series of sex parties. This is all brought to a halt and we get an intimate look at the US criminal process. In the final act Simone Devereaux flies in from Paris to bail out her husband and rent an apartment in New York for his home detention. They spend their time arguing with each other. There are a couple of surprise flashbacks to a hard to believe seduction of a law student at an art gallery and molestation / attempted rape of a journalist.

While George Devereaux seems over the top at the start of the film, at the end of the film he is a more believable character (if not one to sympathise with). George Devereaux at the end sees himself as the victim of society's norms and his wife's ambition. Despite many interactions between Devereaux and women during the film, there are only 2 or 3 where he comes across as charming and seductive.

The first and third acts of Welcome to New York are slow and it is not an easy watch. I don't think I know Strauss-Kahn (or Devereaux) any better by the end, but Gérard Depardieu certainly throws himself into the role.

Ian's rating 2/5

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