Ferrara’s movies have the iridescence of Miami Vice (Ferrara directed some episodes), the rude energy of the B’s, and a sophisticated style that glides above their subjects. King of New York careens along loonily: A gaunt Christopher Walken, his eyes beginning to bulge like Peter Lorre’s, plays an eccentric Robin Hood gangster who coolly murders his rivals but offers millions to a hospital in the South Bronx.
Stream King of New York
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Those who found, say, Internal Affairs, a "stylish" affair will be able to say the same of this, only it's more so. The more squeamish will prefer to take Manhattan Woody Allen style.
[Abel Ferrara's] specialty is a kind of hallucinatory tawdriness, and here, he's made a hepped-up film about drugs that plays as if the filmmakers themselves kept a healthy supply of the stuff at hand.
Mr. Walken, as Frank, does a memorable job of taking a fanciful projection of corruption, greed and complacency, giving it intelligence, and making it flesh and blood.
The imposing performances in this chess game between pointedly black and white criminals (Christopher Walken, Laurence Fishburne) and police detectives (Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes, David Caruso) are as impressive as ever.
Ferrara’s blend of toughness and lyricism turns this visionary crime film into something stylish, seductive and haunting.
What Ferrara needs for his next film is a sound screenplay...He has gone about as far as a director can go on pure style.
Argo's earthy features and self-effacing style make him a memorable foil to the flashier Walken. Without him, King Of New York might be written off as exploitative gangsta fare, all sleaze and decadence for its own sake. With him, it has the ballast of common decency.