directed by Abel Ferrara
USA 1998


I wasn't at all surprised when some of Abel Ferrara's most eloquent defenders labeled this transgressive 1998 adaptation of a William Gibson story the collapse of a major talent. A murky and improbable tale about prostitution, industrial espionage, and manufactured viruses, it works on the very edge of coherence even before the final 20 minutes or so, during which earlier portions of the film are replayed with minor variations and additions. On the other hand, few American films in recent years have been so beautifully composed and color coordinated, shot by shot, and the overall experience of an opium dream is so intense that you might stop making demands of the narrative once you realize that none of the usual genre expectations is going to be met. Almost all the principal action occurs offscreen, and most of Ferrara and Christ Zois's script concentrates on scenes involving a corporate raider (Christopher Walken), his deputy (Willem Dafoe), and an Italian prostitute (Asia Argento) hired to seduce a Japanese scientist. Recurring aerial shots of unidentified cities and a good many dimly lit interiors alternate with grainy video-surveillance images to create the visual equivalent of a multinational labyrinth in which you might easily lose yourself. Coproduced by Walken and Dafoe, it's too far off the beaten path to please most audiences, but I find its decadent erotic poetry irresistible.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's Capsule Review in the Chicago Reader HERE


Theatrical Release: September 5th, 1998

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DVD Review: Lions Gate - Region 0 - NTSC

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Lions Gate

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:33:00

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.37 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles Spanish
Features Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with screen writer Christ Zois

DVD Release Date: December 7th, 1999
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Chapters 24



Lions Gate presents Abel Ferrara's controversial (although in certain circles highly acclaimed) "New Rose Hotel" in typically solid form.

The transfer is very good for most of the time. It only suffers in the film's nightclub sequences (most of them at the very beginning) when Ferrara is using a lot of red light. In those moments artifacts pop up and we get some obtrusive digital noise. Here the disc's age (1999) becomes apparent. But look at the screengrabs and you'll see that the image is clean, fairly sharp and detailed for most of the time. Contrasts and colors are adequately preserved and there's just the right amount of grain.

The two choices of soundtrack (2.0 and 5.1) satisfy completely. The 5.1 track surrounds the viewer nicely with Ferrara's intricate mélange of music, sound effects and dialogue.

The only real extra is the Christ Zois commentary, who talks about his working relationship with Ferrara, the style and many other aspects of the film.
It is worth listening to.

 - Stan Czarnecki


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Lions Gate

Region 0 - NTSC


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