December 24, 2014

Sergey Pokhodaev as Roma in LEVIATHAN. Photo by Anna Matveeva, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Directed by: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Written by: Andrey Zvyagintsev, Oleg Negin

Cast: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Roman Madyanov, Sergey Pokhodaev

Rating: R (for language and some sexuality/graphic nudity)

Running Time: 140 minutes

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s LEVIATHAN doesn’t pull any punches revealing the corrupt government in this small Russian coastal town. This is a far cry from many films that do a slow burn; revealing the corruption methodically, as if this would heighten the drama. But Zvyagintsev reveals the stakes early–Kolya (Alexeï Serebriakov) is forced to fight the corrupt mayor (Roman Madyanov) who is orchestrating the demolition of Kolya’s house. This allows the film to breath in a reality, rather than a dramatic and theatrical manifestation. Aiding the film is perfect casting of people that seem like town locals rather than actors. If there is any knock, it is the film may be too long (140 minutes). But I think you’ll love every minute.

Grade: A-

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