Leviathan, bleak picture of powerlessness in Russia

I was swept along by Zyvagintsev’s Leviathan. His depiction of forces to great had real humanity. Kolia, whose sea front property the gangster mayor wants, is straight forward in his attempts to resist, and dismissive when a priest tries to remind him of the travails of Job. But the Stark bones of a whale on the beach are waiting, as is the inevitable downfall (SPOILER) the live whale, seem only once, presages the only death…. Though the threat of violence, whether from corrupt cops or gangster goons, or drunk men playing with guns, is always there.
While it told a big tale, the people were all very real, comparing it with the epic Norte, The End Of History, which I watched last week. The minor players in Leviathan were very beautifully fleshed, and shown trying to have humanity among such hard circumstances. I especially like the supporting couple, Pasha and Angela, often too drunk (as we’re everyone) but with good intentions.
Askef on BBC Front Row of he felt unpatriotic for showing Russia thus, I heard Zyvagintsev remind us of the place of melancholy art on Russia. Citing Dosteyovsky, Tolstoy and Tarkovsky, he quickly denied a place among them, but did see his film as part of that cultural milleau.

Pete Bradshaw says:
Leviathan review – a compellingly told, stunningly shot drama


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