Leviathan

Leviathan Image
Metascore
92

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 171 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Kolia lives in a small town near the Barents Sea in North Russia. He has his own auto-repair shop. His shop stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya and his son from a previous marriage. Vadim Shelevyat, the Mayor of the town, wants to take away his business,Kolia lives in a small town near the Barents Sea in North Russia. He has his own auto-repair shop. His shop stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya and his son from a previous marriage. Vadim Shelevyat, the Mayor of the town, wants to take away his business, his house and his land. First he tries buying off Kolia, but Kolia cannot stand losing everything he has, not only the land, but also all the beauty that has surrounded him from the day of his birth. So Vadim Shelevyat starts being more aggressive. Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 34
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 34
  3. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    May 24, 2014
    100
    Rather than building towards the finality of a single climax, Leviathan injects several of them into the tapestry of its elegant design.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 3, 2015
    100
    Leviathan is, in the widest sense, a horror film.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 19, 2015
    100
    If Leviathan takes the Academy Award on the 22nd — and it’s considered the front-runner by some — it’ll be a win for great filmmaking and a loss for the Putin government.
  4. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Feb 25, 2015
    89
    Vladimir Putin’s Russia – brutal, carnivorous, delusional, but monstrously well-evolved for crushing both spirits and lives large and small – is taken to task in this excoriating portrait of the state’s omnivorous hunger for control in a far-flung northern fishing community on the Barents Sea.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 8, 2015
    88
    It's a small story set in a memorably desolate location. The actors, all quite magnificent, enlarge it, just as cinematographer Mikhail Krichman illuminates the vistas and roadways and even the furtive kitchen table glances between clandestine lovers.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe McGovern
    Jan 3, 2015
    83
    As in the Coen brothers' great "A Serious Man," the Book of Job looms large here — which is likely how director Andrey Zvyagintsev secured support from his country's censorship-happy Ministry of Culture.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jan 13, 2015
    75
    The politics are rarely overt. “Pussy Riot” stories pop up on TV, and the Orthodox Church’s role in the hierarchy (cozying up to power, serving as a calming “opiate” to the masses) is mocked. Zvyagintsev is a bit too willing, in this overlong film, to let the landscape, the remote setting and the insular world of crumbling apartment blocks, sagging houses, collapsing churches grey skies shape the film’s message.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 5 out of 22
  1. Jan 17, 2015
    10
    Oh my gosh, is anybody here knows that story about Marvin Heemeyer, not Russian! And Andrey wanted make film in USA, what are you talking,Oh my gosh, is anybody here knows that story about Marvin Heemeyer, not Russian! And Andrey wanted make film in USA, what are you talking, about, people? It's not about Russia, it's about people without nation. Love, peace, killdozer. Expand
  2. Mar 1, 2015
    10
    Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing,Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, 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Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing, Amazing. 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  3. Jan 12, 2016
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is the most authentically Russian film I've ever seen. I've lived in North America for 15 years and I felt like I was back in Russia when watching it. Many of the characters reminded me of my relatives or people I knew, the crumbling Soviet architecture, the dark pessimism, the corruption, and just the simple mannerisms are all distinctly Russian.

    The plot is a bit exaggerated, though. Yes, Russia is corrupt, but I doubt things would realistically ever go so far as having Kolya wrongly imprisoned. Also, the film is set in a very remote part of Russia, so it's a lot more bleak than if it was set in a major city like Moscow. Outside of that though, the film is an absolute must see if you want to get a glimpse of Russian life, and try to understand why people drink so much.
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  4. Feb 15, 2015
    8
    A pretty harsh and depressing story about one small man against public authority. Some facts may be exaggerated, but the core problem seemsA pretty harsh and depressing story about one small man against public authority. Some facts may be exaggerated, but the core problem seems legit. After watching the movie I had the same feeling as after finishing reading 1984. Expand
  5. Sep 27, 2015
    7
    After winning the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival, and being chosen as Russia's official submission for the Academy AwardAfter winning the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival, and being chosen as Russia's official submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Leviathan added yet another trophy to its showcase a few days ago. As BFI Fellow and President of the Official Competition Jeremy Thomas announced, the London Film Festival’s jury chose this Russian drama as winner of this year’s competition, commending its “grandeur and themes [which] moved all of us in the same way”. Another successful feature for Andrey Zvyaginstev, whose Elena already won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 2011. After premiering at many other important festivals (Telluride, Toronto, Vancouver), Leviathan is released in the UK by Curzon Cinemas without much clamour or hype. The cinematic season reaches its peak at this time of the year; as Christmas blockbusters and Oscar-hunting auteurs begin to seize screening rooms and star on every bus side and billboard, this ambitious but overlooked film will have a hard time getting the attention it deserves. And yet, despite not striking immediately as a crowd pleaser, this is more than just a film for sophisticated critics: it’s a deep and tragic reflection on human nature that everyone should consider watching.

    Set in a Russian coastal town, Leviathan kicks off as a tense and dark political thriller. Nikolay (Aleksey Serebryakov) and his girlfriend Lilya (Elena Lyadova) live with Nikolay’s teenage son Roma; their stability is threatened by the greediness of corrupt mayor Vadim (Roman Madianov), who wants to build a conference centre on Nikolay’s land. The clash between the two ends up in court, where judges inevitably defend the vested interests of the powers that be. But Nikolay’s lawyer, handsome Muscovite Dmitri (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), has an ace up his sleeve: a secret dossier on Vadim. Will that be enough to make the shady politician desist? The preparation of the blackmail is one of the most unusual and satirically nipping sequences, not only in this film, but in the history of movie blackmails. Before finally taking the compromising documents to Vadim’s personal office, Dmitri goes all around town to try and press charges against the politician; the series of dismissive rejections or excuses he hears from various functionaries is a remorseless blow to Russia’s apparatus and enduring submission to power.

    When Leviathan hits its peak of tension, the thriller progressively fades out to let the human drama grow. This destabilising trick might put off those who expect a climactic series of plot twists, but it’s necessary to accurately portray the unfolding of events and their impact on everyone involved. The relationship between Nikolay and Lilya, their friends, and Dmitri is very soon put to the test by the real-life repercussions of Nikolay and Dmitri’s insubordination. Their favourite pasttime, drinking, suddenly turns from comical to woeful; their camaraderie shatters, not only by Vadim’s hand, but also because of their human inadequacies. Although you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bleaker film this year, Leviathan’s social and human critique can’t be mistaken for simple nihilism. In one of its most vivid and symbolic scenes, Nikolay’s son Roma sits by the coast, worn out by his family’s unsurmountable decline; next to him lies the huge skeleton of a sea creature, a reference to the biblical and mythological leviathan that God shows to Job to prove the inscrutability of the divine plan. In Roma’s case, the higher power is much more earthly and unforgiving.
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  6. Jan 6, 2015
    5
    I agree with LowbrowCinema for the most part. The movie has its merits, but it's just too darned bloated. The insights you gain from the filmI agree with LowbrowCinema for the most part. The movie has its merits, but it's just too darned bloated. The insights you gain from the film are not worth sitting through the slog. There have been FAR better movies based on the situation in Russia that have been released in recent years. I'm a little stunned that this is the 2nd best limited release movie of 2014. Ida, Whiplash, and Force Majeure are FAR more entertaining - and isn't that the point? Expand
  7. Jan 29, 2015
    0
    Well, one thing is for sure, there has never been a movie made that shows a corrupt rabbi. Always the attack on anything, no matter howWell, one thing is for sure, there has never been a movie made that shows a corrupt rabbi. Always the attack on anything, no matter how remote, associated with Jesus, Iesus, Christianity, etc.

    And in this movie, viewed at no cost to me, and I truly hope it loses money for the producer, portrays a Christian leader of the church giving advice that is patently, totally, utterly wrong.

    In other words, the director dresses up a devil worshiper in an Orthodox priest frock and gives him a few lines that are not at all consistent with the character portrayed.

    Given the exact same set of circumstances, I am confident you could not find a single Christian priest (or whatever they call them) over there that would have given the same advice, which in this case was to overrule the corrupt mayor's rare prick of conscience, to tell him to take matters into his own hands, and to forcefully do whatever was necessary to rid himself of his antagonist, instead of what a real Christian would do, and that is to advise the mayor to pursue the truth and justice, the cornerstones of what Jesus stood for.

    And let's not also forget that Jesus got in the face of the "synagogue of Satan", run by the Pharisee mafia of Jesus' day. Those were the people who forced the hand of Pilot. They were the ones chanting "Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!"

    The sting of his resurrection, and his ubiquitous presence in the world is obviously a real burn for the synagogue of Satan, because, as we see, Hollywood, and now even Russian movie makers, will never pass up the chance to demonize Iesus (using the older spelling) and his followers, when they are the demons themselves.

    While it is true corruption finds its way into the heart of every man, woman and child at one point or the other, yes, even a Christian leader, but it would also be a Jewish leader as well. Yet, in this movie, once again, we see a conspicuously over the top misrepresentation of a follower of Iesus, which leads the intelligent viewer, who isn't an empty brain waiting to be washed, to suspect all the other things the director is attempting to represent are also exaggerated.

    Lastly, the timing is conspicuous, as the notoriously anti-Christian Beast of the west is attacking the Russian people's economy because they don't like Putin, a man who has the audacity to show up in church on Easter Sunday to pay tribute to the risen Lord.

    Hmmph ... a bunch of little babies with too much (counterfeit) money and time on their hands.

    Thumbs down to Leviathan. It is nothing more than a distorted propaganda hit piece against Putin, Russia, and Christianity in Russia.
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See all 22 User Reviews

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