Movie of the Day – King of New York

Any movie with Christopher Walken in it is a good movie in my book.  Except of course for Click, The Stepford Wives remake, Hairspary, Man of the Year, Domino, Gigli, Kangaroo Jack, The Country Bears, and Blast From The Past.   I guess not all of them can winners, but I will say that his good outweigh the bad.  Today I want a little gritty film to talk about and why Abel Ferrara’s crime drama King of New York.  Sure Ferrara is probably better known for Bad Lieutenant, but Walken and company make King of New York one of my favorite movie’s of Ferrara’s filmography.

King of New York 1a

Christopher Walken stars as Frank White, a drug lord who’s just been released from a long stint in prison. Aware that feeding off of society’s depravity has made him a wealthy man, Frank has become determined to give something back to the city, and he hatches a scheme to build a multimillion-dollar public hospital in one of Brooklyn’s worst ghetto neighborhoods. Needing the assistance of his fellow criminals to pull it off, Frank and his adjutant Jimmy Jump (Laurence Fishburne) encounter a wall of resistance from every faction, including drug-trade partner Lance Wong (Joey Chin) and temperamental cop Dennis Gilley (David Caruso). Frank’s do-gooder efforts ultimately result in a Mob war and in a bloody showdown between the city’s various ethnic criminal actions. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

Just so you know everyone, Christopher Walken does dance in this movie, at least for a few minutes.  So those of you who only watch Walken flicks for his dancing, you are in luck.  In fact here is a little taste for you all:

He does it a couple more times in the movie so don’t worry.   Also his hair, in every single movie he does, never changes.  I like consistency and I like Christopher Walken.  That aside, King of New York is weird redemption tale, one that I didn’t expect to turn out the way that it did.  The story is following Frank White being released from prison and meeting back up with his old gang to try and do some good for the community.  A sort of white washing his past in order to better his future.  But his good intentions are paved with bad ways as his men get into the old habit of strong arm tactics and gangster shit to accomplish the goal.  It kind of undoes all the good that he aims to do, but shows that even his old life can’t escape him no matter what he attempts to do.  It’s a redemption story that becomes tragic due to the all out gang war that ensues, an outcome that White wishes didn’t have to happen nor did he want to cause more damage to his city.

King of New York 1b

Frank White played by Christopher Walken, is a compelling character.  White is charismatic in his day to day operations but man if you ever cross him you end up getting your shit kicked around or a shotgun blast to the head.  Frank White though does leave a mean streak, imposing his will amongst his followers but commands an undying loyalty that he flaunts amongst the law and those in the upper echelon of New York while he tries to do good with bad.  His second in command is played by Laurence Fishburne as Jimmy Jump, a Run DMC look-alike.  He brings are more tactful and aggressive approach to White’s commands.  While some decisions need to be taken lightly, he just does what he does and goes all street on the people he pushes around.  Kind of like a dog let off the leash to run rampant.  I always viewed him as the pin that brings down White’s empire.  He is brash and a mirror to White as he does what White should be doing to get shit done.

The movie is dark and gritty, never any moments of where there is a light step in the scene, everything comes down hard.  It’s a constant barrage of down trodden imagery, the ghettos, back alley deals, moments of violence pepper everything.  Hell even a wedding and a funeral turn dark in an instant.  There is never a moments rest with Frank White and this film, as his dark past will always hover over him like a shitty looking cloud.  Frank comes to realize this, always trying to resist it but comes to accept it in the end when his empire is crashing down around him.  I can’t stress how amazing this movie is.  Sure it is pretty unrelenting in its down feeling, but that is the only way for this story to go.  You can see that in White’s eyes as he even sees his attempts from the start ending in only one way.  But he tries, because he has to try.  It’s his only path in life.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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