Leviathan

It won the Golden Globe, was nominated for an Oscar, and was even considered for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. I was bored stiff.

This is one of those movies that make me feel bad about myself because although it’s a film about ‘ordinary’ people, it’s also supposed to be about more than just what’s on the surface. And I get that.

In a very pretty but alsmaxresdefaulto coastal town in Russia, Kolya has a wife who’s just not that into him and a son who’s just not that good at life. The town’s crooked mayor is trying to take his home and property, ostensibly for a telecoms mast, but Kolya suspects more personal reasons and is fighting him in court. In the dullest court scene ever shot, a woman drones on as she reads a summation of the case for several long-ass minutes without a breath at punctuation, if indeed there was any punctuation, which was hard to distinguish.

Most of his friends are only using him for his free mechanic services but he calls on one, an old army friend named Dmitri who’s now a lawyer, to help him with his property fight. Dmitri isn’t afraid to fight dirty in court, or in his personal life apparently, because before long he’s fucking Kolya’s wife.

So there’s hypocrisy. Crazy, crazy hypocrisy. Blind love, pretend friendship, misplaced trust. Badleviathan religion. And the symbolism of the leviathan that’s obligatory but heavy-handed. I can see that it’s well-acted, and the outdoor shots were breathtaking. I don’t usually think of Russia like this and I’m glad I got to see it. But I didn’t connect with this film, at all. It was too harsh, and too dry. I know that critics loved it, and the Academy has called it one of the 5 best foreign movies in the world for 2014. Personally, I preferred both Mommy and Force Majeure (preferred both to Ida, which won, for that matter). But you know what? No one asked me.

 

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9 thoughts on “Leviathan

    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, I wasn’t completely sold with Ida and it was bleak and almost completely without action. But at least I could pick up on themes and stick with it. This one I couldn’t even care about.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Well thanks, I feel a bit better. I just felt like that one courtroom scene that was just someone reading legal documents. I mean, oh my god. That would be laughed out of any movie here. You just can’t do that.

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  1. Andrew

    Well, I have seen quite a few Russian films and have liked (even loved) most, and I truly love some of the directors previous works (especially The Return, which is a masterpiece), so I’m optimistic about this…but not every movie is made for every movie watcher.

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  2. ruth

    Y’know, I sometimes feel that way about films highly-praised by critics, esp those that won foreign awards. I just think my taste might not align w/ theirs, so don’t feel bad! I still might give it a shot if it’s on Netflix, then I can just turn it off without feeling guilty I had paid for it.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I have a hard time (guilt complex?) not finishing books or movies. Gotta stick with them, even when I know I’m past the point of ever turning this around.

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      1. ruth

        I hardly ever turn off movies too, it’d have to be REALLY bad or boring for me to turn it off. But again, don’t feel bad if you don’t like something.

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