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King of New York (1990)

Director:
Abel Ferrara
COUNTRY
Italy/USA/UK
GENRE
Crime/Action/Drama
NORWEGIAN TITLE
-
RUNNING TIME
103 minutes
Producer:
Augusto Caminito
Mary Kane
Screenwriter:
Nicholas St. John


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Frank White Christopher Walken
- - the Walken dance
Dennis Gilley David Caruso
Jimmy Jump Laurence Fishburne
Roy Bishop Victor Argo
Thomas Flanigan Wesley Snipes
Jennifer Janet Julian
Larry Wong Joey Chin
Lance Giancarlo Esposito
Joey Dalesio Paul Calderon
Test Tube Steve Buscemi

 

Review

In the period leading up to his overrated career-high (the adjective according to me, the noun according to the Cannes jury), Body Snatchers, Abel Ferrara was like a more serious and less playful Quentin Tarantino - for good or worse. King of New York, like his next entry, Bad Lieutenant, is dark, morose and pessimistic. It isn't as good a psychological study as Bad Lieutenant, nor has it got the same resonance as a social comment (this film's comments are all over the place), but it has got the power and enthusiasm, and benefits from Ferrara's brilliantly confident direction.

At times, the script seems overly plotted and unaccounted for, but it always remains highly interesting, and an extremely confident Christopher Walken carries us through the muddled scenes. With strong characters, some great dialogue and Ferrara's knack for slick and, at times, poetic action scenes, King of New York combines the classic hard-boiled detective genre with typical late 1980s/early 1990s gangster drama to good effect. Except for a few of the smaller roles, the acting is fine all over, with a particular nod to an inspired Laurence Fishburne and extra kudos to Walken for one of the best of his onscreen dances.

Copyright 1.3.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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