Vincent Turturro’s ‘Victor Goodview’ is one of the few stories about nihilism and decadence we’ve had in our festival in recent years. Based on a ground of filth and misery, Victor’s story follows the simple rules of living like a junky in the 21st century. It was easy for us to spot the major influences in the creation of the narrative and characters in ‘Victor Goodview’, as the shadows of William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Irvine Welsh were the invisible puppeteers that ‘played’ with the narrative in their own particular way.
The director was brave enough to go on a path that seemed to be long lost in our day and age when everybody writes about happy places, happy thoughts, shiny inspirational nonsense, and when almost no one focuses on the grim part of life that has its own beauty. Victor, the main character, played by Winston Shaw, is a loser, a man with no future, living in an awful apartment in a bad neighborhood. His life is conditioned by finding a job and a way to make his bowl movements normal again. His pathetic life is extremely poetic, having the right amount of misery, being on the edge of depression, abusing drugs and seeking every possible way to involuntarily destroy himself. His whole life is a poem, an artistic performance that needs no words to speak more than one hundred well-thought verses could do.
One thing we really loved in ‘Victor Goodview’ was the setting of its story. Normally, for a story like this one, the author focuses on the character and puts it in places that are contrasting with his or her personality so as one can clearly see the whole picture of their life. But not here – Turturro’s character is left in a fish tank where everything is filthy and grey. Eventually it turns out that the character stands out in this perfect realm that works as a camouflage for him. Victor is miserable, but so is the whole world, and his misery stands out by being pure, untainted. When he takes drugs, it looks like he is making his first steps into this world, he is scared but confident that this life may be something he would enjoy. He is not you regular junky, but a flower that is intentionally planted into a field of weeds, becoming one of their own.
Vincent Turturro’s ‘Victor Goodview’ is a trip you have to be ready to embark on, a trip that will give you visual munchies if you’re brave enough to go through with it!