Welcome to New York

many films show characters do horrible things and ask us to show empathy for them. welcome to new york is not one of those films. about 30 minutes in, we see devereaux (played by gerard depardieu and based on dominique strauss-kahn) rape a housekeeper, an incident filmed by ferrara with the same objectivity he demonstrates throughout the film. ferrara's choice not to sensationalize what happens does not lessen the seriousness of the situation or the gravity of devereaux's many crimes, as might have happened in the hands of a lesser filmmaker. instead, the filmmaker seeks to show that some people are horrible and always will be horrible. devereaux is as evil at the end of the film as he is at the beginning, but it's an evil free from the handcuffs of dramatic convention. as viewers, ferrara asks for our attention, as one would ask for the attention of a jury examining evidence in a court case, but he does not ask for us to extend any emotion toward the character of devereaux. it's perhaps an even more extreme version of the wolf of wall street, because there is absolutely no way to mistake what ferrara does for glorification. corruption exists, and that's the way things work in america. it's ultimately a disheartening and exhausting way to look at the world, and in some ways welcome to new york is a disheartening and exhausting film, but ferrara executes it with the clinical precision necessitated by such a nihilistic point of view.