“Leviathan” reminds me of a lot of things I can associate about life and individual. A question arises where does a good person deserves his lesson; so is the bad guy. Do good people deserve to die and bad people deserve to live? Does doing evil but confessing to Father can make you a good person? Why do religious people have to suffer? There is no right or wrong answer to be able to answer all these questions. Religiosity will bring up various answers depending on how we believe in God or even people. In essence, we never know whether God is just or only this is all we can get. So, where is the important point of all existence of individualists?
People also claim that living under people’s suffering is good. However, the suffering of good people is a test from God. What about people who live happily over suffering? Are they also undergoing a lesson? The last assumption is that if all good people always get the prize, it is ego and lust that drives it all. You can also see it by reading a lot of religious literacy, especially “Book of Job”. The book is about someone named Job who must get various kinds of severe tests from God to be able to prove his faith and duties as a prophet. This is what this movie was about, a dark Russian drama that explores the real suffering in humans.
A temperamental mechanic, Nikolay (Aleksey Serebryakov), is dealing with the court. The government will immediately confiscate the land and the house where he and his family live. The mayor (Roman Madyanov) feels that Nikolay’s land has great potential as business land. However, if Nikolay wants to evict them, he only has to pay for the land. Yet, Nikolay’s struggle became even harder when he could only pay it at a low price. During the worst times, the mayor used his power to control many parties, including the attorney general’s office, the police, and judges. Although his best friend, Dmitriy (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), has helped him, Nikolay’s resistance has always been deadlocked.
Andrey Zvyagintsev, the director, and Oleg Negin, the screenwriter, highlighted social issues about caste differences, besides this movie takes a Biblical reference like its title. While the antagonist as the ruler is above the law, Nikolay, the commoner, is his legal victim. Not only was he always on the corner of the court, but he also didn’t get proper help. The protagonist and his friend try to take care of the report to the police. They both report to the authorities. However, they were all out of place. The same goes for his lawyer, his wife, and so does his son.
“Leviathan” also leads to a situation where critical social conditions explore deeply in a sea. Everything was getting stronger and Zvyagintsev showed all of its how the protagonist’s struggle faced him and how little by little his family began to betray him. This movie explores every corner of the protagonist’s life at a moment filled with suffering. Nikolay’s wheel of life continues to spin. In contrast, he already faces a complicated court issue. However, Nikolay also never alone.
Everything disappeared little by little until just Nikolay remained, the temperamental but also strong. In all of the way, all of the characters in this movie have an identity. Like how the characters not only appear as characters but what were the reasons they can be there. There is a friend, wife, friend, mayor, judge, police, bishop, and others. Most of them also have lies that they cannot tell themselves or others. Each character has a hidden agenda and a second mask why they want to help one another.
In essence, a corrupted network only trapped them, no matter they are from the upper class, middle, or bottom. It becomes complex when all of a sudden show their real identity little by little. And they succeeded in opening the monsters within themselves, like Leviathan in “Book of Job”. This movie also has a slow-paced, making it as, for some people, a pretentious experience. However, there are many memorable moments when you only watch people acting and talking on screen. And that’s why the direction of the director is so useful.
This movie hits his viewers slowly, a film about a tragic reality that bites in the cold of the tone of the movie. It might be one of the incoherent films but there isn’t a specific flaw I could find in this movie. All the characters in this film are important and nothing unimportant. They all left an ambiguity when the real ambitions appeared one by one. Yet, this film tries to comment on social issues in Russia, with a beautiful landscape, ending up as something so universal and rooted.
4 out of 5 stars.