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Leviathan

Winner! Golden Globe Best Foreign Film. Nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Oscar-Nominated! Best Foreign Language Film. “The great trial of Job is reborn in this magnificent Russian movie. Leviathan is a tragic drama, compelling in its moral seriousness, with a severity and force that escalate into a terrible, annihilating sort of grandeur.

“Director Andrei Zvyagintsev combines an Old Testament fable with something like Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice; it also has something of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront or Robert Rossen’s municipal graft classic All the King’s Men. Kolia  is a car mechanic with a modest property on prime real estate: a beautiful spot on the Barents Sea, but a crooked mayor called Vadim – a wonderful performance from Roman Madyanov, looking something like Boris Yeltsin – wants this land, and hits Kolia with a compulsory purchase order. Kolia’s old army buddy Dimitri (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), now a slick Moscow lawyer, has an incriminating file on Vadim that he promises will induce Vadim to back down, but attempting to blackmail Russia’s well-connected gangster class is fraught with danger.

“Leviathan shows a world governed by drunken, depressed men: everyone is drowning in vodka and despair. Kolia is at the centre of a perfect storm of poisoned destiny, at the focal point of smart lawyers, aggressive politicians and arrogant priests. The title refers to Hobbes’s Leviathan, the classic work about liberty and the state, and also the whale.

“A Dostoyevskian-looking priest speaks to Kolia about enduring his trials like Job, submitting to God’s will, as mighty as the great beast of the sea: “Canst thou draw out Leviathan with a fish-hook?” Yet Kolia has become not Job, but the beached whale itself. Stunningly shot and superbly acted, this is film-making on a grand scale.” - The Guardian

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