Blu-ray Review: Leviathan (2014)

Blu-ray l DVD
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Starring: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Roman Madyanov, Sergey Pokhodaev
Theatrical Release: December 31, 2014
Blu-Ray Release: May 19, 2015

The unforgiving yet majestic landscapes of Russia’s Kola Peninsula, with the Barents Sea’s incessant raging waters and skeletal remnants of a whale washed up on the stony shore, is an ideal location for a film to take place that is loosely based on the Old Testament story from the Book of Job. Ideal because it seems like a hopeless place forgotten by God and unaltered by time; one that eternally damns its inhabitants until they finally surrender due to them being subjected to incredibly bleak circumstances.

In only his fourth feature film, director Andrey Zvyagintsev (who directed 2012’s superb film, Elena) maintains such a stark, dense environment in Leviathan, never once slackening his grip on a particular family and their friends as they attempt to combat the Russian government and their implacably corrupt politics. The results are profound and finally devastating as his narrative is sprawling, covering instances of despair, hope, tragedy, and comedy. The topics are heavy and easily appeal to critics and awards voters alike. The film received a limited release last year so it could secure a nomination for Best Foreign film at last year’s Academy Awards. It has made a wider release in 2015, making it easily one of the best films out this year.

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