Leviathan Review

Posted 8 years ago by myetvmedia

Kolya (Aleksei Serebryakov) is currently entrenched in a legal battle with a corrupt local politician (Roman Madyanov). When he calls an old friend (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) for legal assistance, events move towards a tragic end, with corruption, betrayal and despair exploding into sudden, brutal violence.

Leviathan, directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev and starring Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Aleksei Serebryakov and Elena Lyadova, takes its inspiration from Marvin Heemeyer (whose frustration with local zoning laws drove him to build a “killdozer” and destroy half of Granby, Colarado) (seriously http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_Heemeyer), the well-documented corruption in Russia and the Book of Job. Banned in Russia for obscenity, yet also submitted for the Academy Award for Foreign Film, the backstory is almost as fascinating as that on screen. Lead Serebryakov was recently forced to emigrate to Canada, wishing to protect his children from corruption and political unrest.

Leviathan is an incredibly heavy movie to watch. Starting as a story about a little guy taking on big government, it escalates into the utter failure and ruination of a man. The Church is portrayed as either corrupt or incompetent, either offering trite, feel-good nonsense, or taking advantage of their connections to advance themselves. The law is cited chapter and verse, but ultimately proves to be useless. The viewer is just ground down by unending despair, with every bright spot tarnished.

It’s a fantastic, compelling film about universal themes presented in a new and unique way. Intimidating and beautiful, it’s an amazing snapshot of modern Russia that needs to be seen. Leviathan premiered at Cannes 2014, winning Best screenplay, was shown at TIFF 2014, The 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival and is Russia’s Foreign Film Oscar entry.

Donal O’Connor

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