Note: After reading his review of “Victor,” the author invites you to learn more about “Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Epic Journey into Joy and Healing,” a new book that compares the writings of C. S. Lewis with the music of U2 in a life-changing journey through grief, joy, and longing for God. Available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
After watching the new film “Victor,” which has just hit Netflix, an immediate comparison came to mind. I thought of the film “Brooklyn,” which came out in 2015 and starred the wonderful Saoirse Ronan. “Victory,” amazingly, captured some of the same magic that “Brooklyn” achieved. That’s no small compliment: “Brooklyn” was nominated for three Oscars, and it had 90+% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Christian Films Need More Atmosphere, Subtlety, and Subtext, and ‘Victor’ Gets That
Both movies, “Victor” and “Brooklyn,” had something in common: they created a wonderful, historically accurate setting and atmosphere of Brooklyn during bygone decades of the twentieth century: 1950s for “Brooklyn,” and early 1960s for “Victor.” In “Brooklyn,” it looked at the Irish community in that city during that time period. In “Victor,” it zoomed in on the Puerto Rican communities there.
From the opening shot, with the letters for “Victor” appearing behind a vintage car with the old song “I Aint Got No Home” setting the tone, you find yourself immersed in 1961 Brooklyn from the eyes of a Puerto Rican kid neck-deep in a black leather jacket street gang. From there the atmosphere (and the story) just gets deeper and more memorable. It tells the inspiring true story of a gang leader turned pastor named Victor Torres, and it does it with power and style.
Patrick Davis as Victor captures the precarious mixture of outsider (Puerto Rican on the streets of Brooklyn), reckless youth, and the unbelief-to-faith journey that, on its own, is always a challenge for any actor to convey. He pulls it off with impressive strength. Haley Ramm (who, by the way, played the young Jean Grey in “X-Men: The Last Stand”) also impressed me, especially in her scenes with Davis. She has a nice gravity to her acting style that seems effortless but gets the most important emotions across in every scene. (Their motorcycle ride is a great example of the film’s atmosphere: beautiful cinematography mixed with a perfect soundtrack for the era).
I could go on about the rest of the cast, all of whom impressed me with their performances. It’s one of those happy movie watching experiences where every character feels real and every actor is enjoyable to watch. All in all, this is yet another milestone for faith-inspired films. It’s of a quality that I don’t see often from any movie genre.
And other people are noticing, as this press release notes:
VICTOR recently was awarded four awards at the International Christian Visual Media Association’s annual conference. The film received three Gold Crown Awards, being named Best Evangelistic Film, Best Youth Film and Best Drama over $250,000. The film also received the Silver Crown for Best Picture.
Catch up with “Victor” on its Facebook page, and you can now watch the film for free on Netflix:
“We are honored that Netflix has added VICTOR to its ever expanding, streaming audience,” states Chris Bueno, CEO of Ocean Avenue Entertainment. “There are now 52 million subscribers in the United States and when you consider there are an average of 2.5 users per subscriber, that translates to over 125 million people. However, VICTOR is also available through Netflix in all of South America (including Brazil), Canada, UK, Ireland Australia and New Zealand. We believe there will be hundreds of thousands, even millions of people who can now find this film on Netflix and discover its message of hope and healing.”
VICTOR stars Patrick Davis (IN THE NAME OF GOD, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”), Josh Pence (LA LA LAND, THE SOCIAL NETWORK), Lisa Vidal (STAR TREK, “American Horror Story”), Jose Zuniga (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Lobo Sebastian (THE LONGEST YARD, “CSI: Miami”) and Haley Ramm (INTO THE WILD, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND). Created by GW Films and Spiral Films and distributed by Ocean Avenue Entertainment, VICTOR was directed by Brandon Dickerson (SIRONIA, A SINGLE FRAME), and written by Dickerson and Thomas Ward (SIRONIA, IN THE MIDDLE).
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