2014: #6 Leviathan


Directed by: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Written by: Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin
Starring: Aleksei Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, and Roman Madyanov
Distributer: Sony Pictures Classics
Country: Russia
Language: Russian
Rating: R
Running Time: 141 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Date released: 12/25/2014
Date seen: 1/23/2015
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $369,200
# of Oscar nominations: 1 (Foreign Language Film)
# of Golden Stake Nominations: 2 (Villain and Original Screenplay)
# of Golden Stakes Won: 0

As cynical as Gone Girl was, it’s got nothing on Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, which takes a bleak view of marriage certainly but also sees nothing but pain emerge from pretty much every other facet of society as well.  Told in Zvyagintsev’s signature cold but ethereal style, the film tells the somewhat Job-like tale of a man fighting back against a corrupt mayor who is trying to seize his property in order for reasons that are entirely selfish.  In the typical Hollywood version of such a story this protagonist would be rewarded for his tenacity and win his case after a tearful courtroom speech, but there’s none of that here.  Instead this guy receives nothing but punishment the more he fights authority and slowly sees his life fall apart.  That sounds like a relentlessly unpleasant watch, but Zvyagintsev handles the material just right to make it seem interesting rather than miserable.
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#7 Year End Honors #5