Published on February 13th, 2015 | by Neil Jordan0
Greetings & Salutations Fellow Movie Fanatics!
Welcome to 2015! It’s a new year and that of course means new movies.
Today, we’re presented with a film from Russia. An epic if you will.
LEVIATHAN is a Russian drama film directed by Andrey Zvyagintesv and co-written by Zvyagintesv and Oleg Negin. The film stars Aleksei Serebryakov, Roman Madyanov,
Vladimir Vdovichenkov , Elena Lyadova, and Sergey Pokhodaev. The film is set in a small town on a peninsula near the Barents Sea and tells the story of Koyla. Russia’s equivalent of your ‘Average Joe’ and a mechanic by trade only with a short fuse and a bad temper. He has many friends including several local police officers but they only seem to come around when they need their cars repaired. Koyla (Serebryakov) is caught up in a bitter dispute with the town mayor Vadim (Roman Madyanov) who carries himself more like a gangster than a politican. Vadim is using the law to repossess and confiscate the property that Koyla’s home and business reside on for an undervalued price. In an effort to fight back, Koyla enlists the help of his old army buddy Dimitri (Vdovichenkov) a hot shot lawyer from Moscow. On top of all this, Koyla is trying to stop the discord that has grown between Roma (Pokhodaev) his son from his first marriage and his wife Lilia (Lyadova). For a while, it looks as though Dimitri might be able to help save Koyla’s home and business but our story soon spirals out of control when Lilia and Dimitri begin having an affair and Koyla comes to realize that his problems are far worse than he dared imagine.
As far as I can recall, this is the only the second Russian film I have ever seen (The first one being Solaris). The stereotype that the running time of Russian movies are long is very much true. This film clocks in at 141 minutes. The intensity and sincerity that the actors and actresses display though make up for it. After a while, you start feeling sympathy for the story’s hero Koyla. His family, his home, his life. He’s just trying to hold it all together. All the while, his so-called friends are going about their business and none of them lift a finger until things get really bad and then all they do is offer him more vodka. I remember thinking that this story reminds me of the story of Job from the bible and this reference has also been made in the media as well by others. The filming and cinematography are quite well done as though the movie was filmed in part by the same folks who film movies for National Geographic.
Leviathan was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and Zvyagintsev won the award for Best Screenplay. The film has also received a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015. Last month, Leviathan was nominated for the Academy Award for best Foreign Language Film.
It’s most definitely worth seeing once. I’m going to give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. The length of the film kills it though. I must also admit that I found the lack of resolution of some aspects of the story as rather unsettling. It’s as though everything bad that could happen did and that there’s no coming back from it. The movie ends and I was like, “That’s it?! This is how it ends?! I guess it’s being realistic. The hero won’t always win and the day won’t always be ‘saved’. If you’re going to see it, download it online or take a day and find a cool art house movie theater to see it in.
On behalf of myself and my fellows at Skewed & Reviewed, this is your friendly neighborhood freelance photographer ‘The CameraMan’ saying thanks for reading and we’ll see you at the movies!