FILM THIS WEEK: Welcome to New York | Lilting | Planes 2: Fire and Rescue
Ratings: ★ ✩ ✮ ✰ ☆
Friday 8th August
Welcome to New York. (18)
SYNOPSIS: Mr Devereaux (Gérard Depardieu) is a powerful man who controls billions of dollars every day as head of the World Bank. Devereaux, a self-confessed sex addict, spends a wild night with prostitutes in a high class New York hotel. In the morning, he is caught in the shower by a maid and proceeds to attack her. The story is about his arrest, and the impact it has on his career, his family, particularly his wife (Jacqueline Bissett). It has close similarities to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case in 2011.
Gérard Depardieu opens as Devereaux, a raunchy, sex-obsessed business man, who arrives at a hotel in New York, for one night of debauchery before heading back to Paris. The start of the film doesn’t hide behind subtleties. We’re talking sex, rough, sometimes brutal, orgies, prostitutes, uninhibited sex. It came as something of a surprise and is such a sharp contrast to the rest of the film, it almost feels gratuitous. However, at defining a character, Devereaux, it did an almost perfect job at showing his behaviour, without delving into his mind-set.
Depardieu’s performance was amazing, he sounded like a man about to keel over at any time, with lots of grunting, and wheezing and appearing to struggle with his health and weight. In fact, I thought this was his actual condition, rather than acting, and worried for the man!
In some ways, it feels like I watched two films, with Devereaux having the focus in the first half, his role seems to diminish as the story skims the surface of the court cases, and focuses in on his wife –rich and ambitious, Simone Devereaux. I wanted to know more about her – her background is only hinted at, and she spends much of the time berating Devereaux.
It’s an interesting film to watch, but again, it raises more questions than it answers. Notice the complete absence of how the maid’s story developed over this period. This is a focus on Devereaux, his wife, and their relationship during this time, with flashbacks to some of Devereaux’s previous encounters with women. Its focus seems incomplete but very accusatory, and you’ll come away thinking about Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Rated: 3 – ✩✰☆
Director: Abel Ferrara
Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset, Drena De Niro, Marie Mouté, Amy Ferguson, Paul Calderon, Pamela Afesi, JD Taylor
SYNOPSIS: The opening film of this year’s BFI Flare Festival, Lilting tells the story of a Cambodian-Chinese mother mourning the untimely death of her son. Her world is suddenly disrupted by the presence of a stranger, and we observe their difficulties in trying to connect with one another without a common language. Through a translator they piece together memories of a man they both loved dearly, and realise that while they may not share a language, they are connected in their grief.
Richard (Ben Whishaw) goes to meet Junn (Pei-Pei Cheng) who is living in a residential home. Their only connection is Kai (Andrew Leung), Junn’s recently deceased son. Junn doesn’t speak English, and Richard hires a translator to help them to communicate, to see if Junn is okay and offer help now that her child is gone. The only thing they have in common are their memories of Kai, told in flashback.
Richard’s sadness envelops his scenes. It’s sadness, tinged with longing. Longing for understanding, for connection, and to say the unsaid, in spite of the language barrier. Junn on the other hand seems not to want to communicate with this stranger, doesn’t want to hear what he has to say.
Both Ben Whishaw and Pei-Pei Cheng give great performances, showing their pain, anger, and grief in such a delicate way as they manoeuvre around each others feelings and emotions.
Rated: 3½ – ✩✰☆½
Director: Hong Khaou
Starring: Ben Whishaw, Pei-Pei Cheng, Morven Christie, Peter Bowles
Planes 2: Fire and Rescue (3D)
SYNOPSIS: When Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, plus that the corn-fest may be cancelled if there is no suitable fire provision, he joins a forest fire and rescue unit to be trained as a firefighter, and save the festival.
Dusty heads to the Piston Peak National Park, to learn the trade – an interesting area in the work of planes, and very worthy, but it wasn’t enough to keep my full attention for the, duration of the film. The film is filled with ‘fires’ and erm… ‘rescues’, and some chuckle worthy jokes, but Dusty, the ‘hero’ seemed to be a complete pain in the neck, ‘hard-ears’, and was the cause of a few of the problems.
The film didn’t seem to keep the attention of the children who were watching it either – I don’t think an appreciation of the brave work of Firefighters was really working for them. It was all a bit too much information, and repetitive action – one great fire scene is much like another, the peril is always the same – someone might get hurt! The kids soon seemed to tire of this. The film is entertaining enough, ‘Go Dusty!’ But, if you feel the need to take the kids to see it this summer, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
As always though, great look to the film, and gorgeous colours
Rated: 2 – ✩✰
Director: Bobs Gannaway
Starring: Dana Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Curtis Armstrong, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Wes Studi