A simple story, almost too simple, yet an elaborate way of illustrating absence of love. And not too subtle the extremely detestable parents. Not Zvyagintsev's best work, but that's a very high bar. Great abandoned building scenes and other beautifully crafted shots. There's an emotional vacancy that runs through all of Zvyagintsev's films, inviting viewers to view the whole world through his lens of disheartenment.
A bitter divorce as an allegory of the Russian socio-political climate? Hopefully, MSM Russophobes won't use this as a vehicle to peddle other agendas. It is a strong Zvyagintsev film. The exploration of technological solipsism, the tension between atheism and religion, gender dynamics in crisis and an enigmatic evaluation of Russia's annexation of Crimea make this a cerebral and profound melodrama indeed.
5 stars for the Galperine brothers' closing credits' score, which came pretty close to convincing me I'd just watched a more incisive and original film than I had. My reflexive, eager agreement with Zvyagintsev's low opinion of human possibility, its sadness shading into numbness, only underlines its familiarity and complacency. But I guess there is a kind of novelty in the idea of Tarkovsky helming Ordinary People.
As always for Zvyagintsev, the personal is political. Loveless suffers from obvious symbolism and topicality—the most blunt attempts at subtlety—and a case of arthouse dyspepsia where characters are aggressively awful to make a point. But as an allegory of indifference, it has some bite in it, paradoxically because it shows a peace that can be found from detaching. Who knows? After the damage, maybe something new.
TIFF 2017. Bitter variation on Scenes from a Marriage. In a way it kind of reminds me of L'avventura in how it observes the characters' response to a disappearance -which is largely informed by their bourgeois status. Suffice it to say that this is easily the darkest and most upsetting film Zvyagintsev has made. The use of Arvo Pärt's music is perfect.
Not as powerful emotionally or formally for me as Leviafan, this one feels more in line with the distanced coldness of Elena. It's hard to find empathy with such narcissistic characters but there are some powerful moments of revelation; particularly around how disassociation lets us mask pain and hurt, forcing us act with retaliation that's often at odds with what we truly need. Fantastic credits score!! 3.5 stars
LOVELESS finds Zvyagintsev at his most crisp and mighty as a visual artist, but though (naturally) he can be hamfisted as a storyteller and conveyor of oafish message, he does deserve credit here for gradually broadening his tableau beyond what could have been wholly dreadful, tedious, and self-righteous to something more dynamic and broadly societal. Of course he couldn't end it without slamming us over the head.
The plot is fairly simple. The bitterness and selfishness of the main characters are almost unbearable. Some expositions are quite redundant.
But, Andrey Zvyagintsev's delicate and masterfully crafted tension turned 'Loveless' into an immensely absorbing social and psychological drama.