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Victory


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Product Details

  • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Irene Jacob, Rufus Sewell
  • Directors: Mark Peploe
  • Writers: Joseph Conrad (novel), Mark Peploe (screenplay), Frederick Seidel (screenplay)
  • Producers: Yves Attal, Chris Auty, Simon Bosanquet, Jeremy Thomas, Bob Weinstein
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JDVY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,738 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Victory" on IMDb

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Product Description

Starring Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, Shadow Of The Vampire) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, The Horse Wisperer), Victory is an intense story of a man accused of murder and his struggle to keep himself and the woman he loves alive! In a remote Dutch East Indies seaport, Axel Heyst (Dafoe) lives in a prominent hotel. Al all-women orchestra plays in the hotel each night and the orchestra owner agrees to "sell" one of the girls, Alma (Irene Jacob - U.S. Marshals), to the sinister owner of the hotel. When Alma begs Heyst to save her from a life of prostitiution, they escape to a tropic island...but not before Heyst is accused of murder! Also starring Rufus Sewell (A Knights Tale) - the suspense intensifies as the hotel owner points a bloodthirsty gang of bandits to the island, telling them their lost furtune lies hidden there!

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Filmed in 1995 and marginally released in Europe in 1998, Victory deserves a better life on video. Adapted by director Mark Peploe from Joseph Conrad's 1915 novel Victory: An Island Tale, this exotic melodrama takes place in the Dutch East Indies in 1913 and '14, where the reclusive Mr. Heyst (Willem Dafoe) lives alone on the secluded island where he once operated a coal mine. Rumored to have killed his business partner, Heyst makes a rare trip to a nearby island, rescues a beautiful violinist named Alma (Irène Jacob) from a wretched hotelier, and returns home with reward-seeking killers (Sam Neill, Rufus Sewell) in close pursuit. A misanthropic pacifist, Heyst faces a dual dilemma: he's fallen in love and must protect Alma at all costs. Preserving Conrad's literary elegance, Peploe opts for a simmering escalation of tension, with a conclusion that Miramax deemed too downbeat for U.S. audiences. Boasting fine performances and breathtaking locations, this gripping film is ripe for rediscovery. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on March 8, 2003
Format: DVD
Victory (the novel) is hardly one of Conrad's masterpieces, and is his most melodramatic piece of fiction. These melodramatic elements lend themselves very well, however, when it comes to translating Conrad to film (which hasn't been done very well to this stage, apart from Coppola's loose adaptation of Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now). Director Mark Peploe, a sometime collaborator with Bernardo Bertolluci, has fashioned a script that comes close to the spirit of Conrad's novel. The changes that have been made have to do with the book's ending, yet they don't hinder the artistic flow of the film in any manner.

The story is a classic good vs. evil allegory, with Heyst (Willem Dafoe) representing a fallen Adam trying to make his way back to paradise. Just for reinforcement of the concept, Heyst's father stares down in glaring disapproval from a painting Heyst has had delivered from his old digs in San Francisco. He's now living in a paradisical setting (the Javanese vistas the camera captures are beautiful indeed), yet is living in isolation. His loneliness is cured when he rescues a young, French violinist playing in a travelling all-female orchestra which is performing at Herr Schomberg's hotel. Schomberg, who hates Heyst, is in the process of purchasing Lena (who we learn is actually named Alma) from San Giacimo, the oily impresario who conducts the orchestra and who, along with his iron-fisted wife, has absolute control over the female orchestra members.
After Heyst has rescued Alma and hidden her away on his island retreat, Schomberg receives a trio of unwelcome guests at his hotel. These are the Satanic duo of the mysterious Mr. Jones and his "secretary," Ricardo. A swarthy henchman named Pedro also acts a criminal aide-de-camp to Ricardo.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alien on June 30, 2005
Format: DVD
I love Joseph Conrad but the films never seem to work. "The Duellists" was too thin, "The Secret Agent" terrible. "Lord Jim"s the best of a bad bunch so far.

This doesn't up the score much, but it's an honest try. The locations are good and it has the feel of the time and place. Casting is arse over face, with pudgy Sam Neill as the novel's skeletal Mr Jones (hammy, mannered, ineffective) and Willem Dafoe as the novel's pudgy Heyst (very good indeed). Irene Jacob's a blank sheet, but at least she's better here than in "U.S. Marshalls." Best of the bunch is Rufus Sewell, who has Jones' 'private secretary' to perfection, and he's an actor I've no time for in anything else.

Biggest drawback is the narration. Bill Patterson may be great, but he barely keeps his trap shut for more than two minutes. He's always telling us back story, what Heyst thinks, what Schomberg thinks. It's as if Mark Peploe can't let go of the novel or as if the producers didn't think the audience would get it. Considering it sat on the shelf for years, probably the last.

The end is under effective because you never get any feel that the lovers bring each other to life. Dafoe does well, but Jacob is like Isabelle Adjani at her weakest here, doing too little. Good stuff along the way, and Neill does redeem himself with the great line "We are the world, Mr Heyst, come to pay you a visit." Now that's Conrad.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on September 27, 2008
Format: DVD
Axel Heyst (here played by Dafoe), like many of Conrad's outcasts, is a wounded creature who has beaten a retreat from the mainstream of life. But even in the far-flung colonies, the imperial heart of darkness still beats.

Written in 1913, Victory went to press just as WWI erupted and so Conrad considered changing the title of the book so as not to mislead readers into thinking this was a war novel. But he opted to keep the title anyway. The title "victory" refers to the protagonist's victory not so much over historical circumstance (which can never be transcended) but despite the crushing effects of historical circumstances. Arguably, its not much of a victory at all. Its not a happy book by any stretch of the imagination, its a deeply philosophical book about man's alienation from himself. The dense impenetrable tropic setting, as always in Conrad, serves as a symbol of man's dark impenetrable heart. In this book that heart is especially dark and the densely philosophical prose damn near impenetrable.

Although Victory is considered to be the best of Conrad's late period, the achievements of his late period, interesting though they may be, are nowhere near as rich as those "victories" of his middle period ("Nigger of Narcissus," "Heart of Darkness," Lord Jim, Nostromo).
No matter how you approach it, Victory is an awkward novel. What makes it a particularly difficult read is that Conrad does not fully explain what shaped his main character until very late in the book which means that for much of the book Heyst is simply an angst-ridden enigma to us and to himself. The film is, for the most part, faithful to the book and so the film has the same strengths and weaknesses as the book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Scott on February 8, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Conrad is difficult. Conrad is difficult? Who are we kidding? Exotic locales, action, angst, and history, what's not to like? This may be the most accessible Conrad story for a movie-length treatment. A stronger female character than he's usually known for... a more straight-forward plotline that resolves more quickly... and a message. Ah, now, the message is the trouble isn't it? The explanation of how the title applies is a bit too philosophical for American audiences, I'm sure. And yet people sat through drivel like the Bridges of Madison County in droves? I don't get it.
Casting. Rufus Sewell is the shining star -- and he's not even on the cover of the box. As is so often the case with his supporting performances, he injects a level of energy into this film that should have come from its stars. Sam Neill can be forgiven; he's playing an opium addict aristo. But Dafoe is so understated he seems to be sleepwalking at times. He should have watched Peter O'Toole in "Lord Jim" before playing this part. (And yet, the tiredness of his character and others makes you feel the oppressive heat and barbaric surroundings they live in, so it is not altogether uncalled-for.)
As someone else said, Sam and Rufus are the best part of the film, wonderfully scummy and intensely watchable. Conrad is the next best (even adapted to film, the complexity of his stories shines through), and the setting follows. It's a great story that takes its time and rewards smart viewers, but this isn't the kind of movie you can watch with six people in the room blabbing at the same time. Pay attention, and you will find yourself transported to another time, another world, another way of thinking that could only come from the mind of someone who lived there. That is what makes Conrad great, and the people who made this movie wanted to be true to his themes even where they may not have been entirely true to the book. I think they did an admirable job.
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