Frank White, a ruthless drug lord, is released from prison and wants to redeem his past by using his drug profits to build a hospital for underprivileged kids. He challenges his fellow criminals to participate, but when they refuse he has to do things the hard way…
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The gangster genre was brought to its greatest highs of filmmaking extravaganza by a crazed up Abel Ferrara who made a movie capable of disturbing anybody's moral compass. The cinematography, the violence and the performances are all perfectly executed, but it's Walken's Frank White, the ultimate gangster paradox, the image of the nigths of NYC, that will stay in your mind long after the end of this film.
A literal vision of the drug war, where moral codes have long ago gnarled and atrophied and all that is left is dance, blood, coke and piss. The title is misleading, though; the biggest ambition anyone has in this film is to take someone else down before they fall.
Christopher Walken's dancing steps (cited in the video to Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice") are legendary. The problem of the film is its sketchiness: Ferrara seems to like not to be involved with his characters.
Mr. Ferrara is an honest to goodness master. This has never been amongst his greatest works. It is rigged to pull in the rabble. It does possess one of Mr. Walken's most giddy-makingly bonkers performances. Fishburne is likewise way out in the outer recesses. The violence is some ridiculous cartoon spectacle shit that just plain baffles. I will be very, very pleased if I never see David Caruso ever again. Ever.
Stylish gangster film with splashes of sudden violence and lacerating, spare dialogue. Stylistically it reminds me of Wajda's early films more than an American director. Although entertaining, with Walken at his mesmeric best, this seems like a dry run for the absolute masterpiece of "The Funeral" some years later.
One of Ferrara's most ambitious films, the portrait of the criminal empire swings back and forth between something of fantasy and gritty reality and the two clash in a way that films like Scarface only wish they could.