Things like,the guy being shot 5 times and taking 5 minutes to die used to piss me off and I would leave the cinema thinking that if the thing hadn't been done on purpose the film was necessarily shit,but now I appreciate that sort of thing.Also,I am going to try that funny face that Christopher Walken pulled in the beginning.
The more films I see directed by Abel Ferrara, the more I remind myself that his name should crop up more whenever I am asked about my favourite film-makers. This crime drama features a great cast, a superb lead performance from Walken, interestingly murky morality all round, and a pretty solid soundtrack. It also somehow treads through very familiar territory without making you feel like you've seen it all before.
Such an electrifying film on so many levels - Abel Ferrara has the courage to mix the gangster genre with action, crime and drama all at once. Christopher Walken gives a stunning performance. Loved that last sequence on the tube, for how powerfully cinematic it gets all the way till the end. Ferrara definitely knows how to direct a good movie and how to use the cinematic language in the most expressive way possible.
Here Christopher Walken is a sinister gangster... some of the time. Because it just takes for him to smile (or even dance) and Ferrara's ambition to create a gritty NY gangsta piece evaporates leaving behind a clownish version of the genre. For every stylish shot and menacing face there are countless testimonies of cartoonist bravado and implausable events. Ferrara is not up there with the big boys yet.
It looks great and Walken does his trademark menace, but beyond that this film is paper-thin both in plot and characters. A promising first act is quickly derailed by a half-baked conclusion. A wannabe contemporary of genuine crime classics like Goodfellas, Scarface or Heat. This has none of the depth of those films. Mildly entertaining, if disappointing.
I'd heard this was good, but to me it felt like amateur hour, like the script was thrown together in a drunken few hours. It feels very much like an Eighties film, like an overly choreographed MTV video with a dash of cartoonish violence. And yet, it's very watchable, with Walken giving an outstanding performance as the inscrutable drug baron, and the rest of the cast barely believable.
King of New York, aka When Cops Turn Bad. Brutal action combines with creepy Walken as a mastermind con just released from prison with delusions of patronage grandeur. It's not coincidental that one of Walken's rival villains has a liking for Bella Lugosi movies, but W out-creeps the silent movie star 10 to 1. Blood on the mean streets action thriller.
I'm sure there were at least 2 moments where Walken looked right at us. Mr Fish looked like he'd stepped right out of Clockwork Orange, and David Caruso, should never have left NYPD blue. (later I know) I don't think its a masterpiece, I think the story is weak, but, glad I've seen it
And where is the art here? Whichever of the tracks/storeys director opened up to pursue remained by the end naive, untold, hollow. Being a scatterbrained impressed by the ridiculous underside of eighties is really a state not to be. Maybe if it was a musical instead...