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81

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Summary: Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, the country’s largest fishing port with over 500 ships sailing from its harbor every month, Leviathan follows one such vessel, a hulking groundfish trawler, into the surrounding murky black waters. Filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Sweetgrass) and Verena Paravel (Foreign Parts) use a dozen cameras to present a vivid representation of the work, the sea, the machinery and the players, both human and marine. [Cinema Guild]
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Dec 12, 2013
    100
    It’s really a radical experiment in non-fiction cinema – not seeking to enlighten or inform, but to disorientate us, practically to drown us, in a nightmare vision of the ocean’s power.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Dalton
    Feb 22, 2013
    100
    A highly original film of uncompromising, other-worldly beauty. Leviathan demands to be seen, even if it means you never eat seafood again.
  3. Reviewed by: Gabe Toro
    Mar 1, 2013
    91
    The experience of Leviathan is wholly singular, without context, enveloping and immersive. In some ways, it might very well be the most terrifying picture of the year.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Feb 26, 2013
    80
    The first and only piece of advice needed on one’s way to the fishing pond is this: Bring your patience. Not surprisingly, the same could be said to a viewer of this slow-building but riveting experimental collage.
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Nov 25, 2013
    80
    Part fishing documentary, part filmmaking experiment, Paravel and Castaing-Taylor is remarkable, disorientating and unique gem.
  6. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Feb 28, 2013
    75
    The adventurous souls who stick with it, however, will find head-spinning images and a cumulative impact that does, in fact, amount to a story.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Mar 1, 2013
    60
    The result is a self-conscious tone poem concocted from oblique camera angles, shots held longer than it takes a tadpole to reach maturity and nighttime images enhanced with a psychedelic glow. An alternate title for it might be "David Lynch, Gone Fishin'."

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 4 out of 5
  1. Jan 6, 2014
    10
    This is easily one of the best movies I've seen in the past few years. No story, no bull, pure cinema. I think it really needs to be experienced in a theater though because the sound design is phenomenal. This won't be everyone's, or even MOST people's, cup of tea, however if you are a fan of experimental or non narrative cinema then this is mandatory viewing. The scope is small but feels gigantic, the images are beautiful and haunting. Just go see it, hopefully you'll understand. Expand
  2. Oct 23, 2013
    1
    Don't understand all the praise Leviathan is getting and why the critics and majority of the audience are loving it. To me, it's the worst documentary film ever made, and I love watching documentaries. Expand
  3. Oct 31, 2013
    1
    Great movie making or oops, I forgot the "record" button was left on. Ummm, I am opting for the later. Some terrific visuals but extending them "forever" does not make them better, it only lessons the impact and tires the viewer. Editing, editing, editing. It sorely needs some! Expand
  4. May 16, 2013
    0
    This film was lazy, inartistic, intentionally annoying and massively indulgent. The shots were mostly shaky head cams on the fishermen often too dark to see anything. Or the camera was dangled pell-mell in the wake and the audience watched long stretches (like 5 minutes with no cutaways) of churning bubbles. Or the cam was dropped in a pen of sloshing fish for 15 minutes--no music, no voice over, often no discernible images. The quality of filmmaking is the equivalent of when you leave your video camera on by accident and it bounces along by your leg filming the ground? That boring, throw-away less-than-B-roll mess? Leviathan. There were tiny snatches of beauty; the first shots of the birds were stunning--until they went on and on and on and then were repeated later in the film in the same hammeringly repetitive manner. Augh! Not "avant garde" but truly awful posing as important.

    I love thoughtful docs and entertaining avant garde pieces... but this was the most punishing film to sit through, with so few moments of clarity, it made me angry. I pity the poor film students who will have to endure this exercise in bludgeoning boredom.
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See all 5 User Reviews

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