After Moonlighting, London-based, longtime Polish exile Jerzy Skolimowski stays with the exile theme in Success is the Best Revenge. Pic deals with how exile can become a trap, a temptation to coast along quite professionally on the artist-exile’s most obvious obsession, and how the children of such exiles will sooner or later insist on exploring their roots.
Story is told on parallels between teenager Adam (Michael Lyndon), who secretly prepares for combined punkdom and flight to Warsaw, and his father, Alex Rodak (Michael York), a Polish stage director about to put on another exile show at a London West End theater.
The sad plight of the younger generation of refugees is a theme well worth exploring, but Skolimowski really has much more to say in a satirical way – about the older generation that has turned exile into business.
Rodak finally – against the wishes of his long-suffering wife (Joanna Szczerbic) – gets the money from a cynical millionaire (John Hurt) who has his own shady reasons for entering the game as a backer. He also has by his side Monique de Fontaine (Anouk Aimee) as a theater manager with possible off-stage designs on him.
Although mostly a shot-on-location film, production designer Voytek manages to make even its street scenes look like they were done in a studio. Film’s title is a slight twist of the 1920s adage about living well being the best revenge.