In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. A modern day social drama spanning multiple characters about insecurity in a “new country” which gradually unwinds to a mythological scale concerning the human condition.
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A great film about the abusive use of power and authority as well as personal tragedies and the bigotry of the mighty. The cinematography, framed and interpolated by the wavelike textures of Philip Glass' music, is stunning, especially regarding the confrontation of nature with frozen shots of interiors and the people inside.
After watching this, Zvyagintsev became my favorite living director. But since I have a particular taste for cynical fatalism, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, specially not to someone who wants to see a feel-good film. I still can't wrap my ahead around the fact that it was partly founded by the Russian Ministry of Culture. I guess Putin thought that acting in mysterious ways would make him look like a god.
The story's more than just an "Encyclopeadia of Russian Life", it's universal. Leviathan is the Law in the lacanian sense of the word, l'Autre which we fear and hold in awe and are unable to fight nor comprehend, but are bound to bow down before. Stunning shots. Plot twists and characters' motivation seem a bit far-fetched from time to time, but you'd better not use a magnifier for a cinematographic colossus
Staggering and fulsomely compelling in the first half when we aren't sure exactly where we are going and the movie carries serious thrust. Somewhat disappointing as the whole approach becomes diffuse, leaden in its symbolism, and obligated to make its point afterwards. Still, monumental. That it exists, and that state money is involved, ought to prompt some serious reflection
Soul crushing! With the added tease of being very funny for the first hour, until its events unfold so naturally and inevitably and Russianly that when it ends as such a matter-of-fact, it's devastating but it makes total sense. It reminded me of THE WIRE. Trying to be an honest person in this life? Fuck you, someone'll be there with a big boot to flatten you like the honest bug you are.
Big, mean, ruthless... Russia as a mammoth collective which prides itself for it's truthful grandeur, and still sobs and drinks itself to sleep for it at the same time. The beast is live for the old generations; a carcass to the new. Can't help but love these babushkas!
My review of arguably the finest movie of 2014, is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.in/2015/01/171-russian-director-andrei.html
It is a bold and openly critical film of contemporary Russia from a director who could be termed as the new Andrei Tarkovsky It is a film with layers of meaning that will make any intelligent viewer think.
Russia has gone from the Tsars to authoritarian communism to whatever the hell Putin is, and Zvyagintsev, with this sense of history, confirms his rep as a master of the slow-burn allegory. A brilliantly written drama, surreptitiously laying out important details as it draws a chilling (yet often comical) look at how corrupt systems can't be challenged because the challengers are only human. One of 2014's best.