King of New York (1990)
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.