The stunning new film from modern Russian master Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return, Elena), LEVIATHAN is a gripping parable of class, faith and corruption, centering on a land dispute between a small-time mechanic and his local authorities that reaps unimaginable consequences.
Kolia (the magnetic Alexey Serebryakov) lives in a coastal village near the Barents Sea in Northern Russia, running an auto-repair shop from the garage of his childhood home, shared with young wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and his teenage son from a previous marriage. The family’s world is under threat: Vadim Sergeyich (Roman Madyanov), the imperious town Mayor, has slapped a compulsory acquisition order on Kolia’s prime land, earmarking the site for a development of undetermined but dubious funding (and offering risible, token compensation). To Sergeyich’s great surprise, Kolia enlists the help of ex-army friend Dmitri (Vladimir Vdovitchenkov), now a hotshot lawyer from Moscow. Dmitri has uncovered some highly incriminating evidence that he believes will force the Mayor to back down, even if he has secrets of his own. Soon tempers and passions are inflamed, events spiral out of control, and lives are placed at stake.
Zvyagintsev’s deftly-drawn and morally complex thriller is an electrifying, vodka-fuelled examination of the familial, sexual and judicial tangles of ordinary human lives, played out against the monstrous machinations of Putin’s seemingly unchecked regime. Saturated with incredible imagery, superb performances and sly, Kafkaesque humour, this astounding and frequently surprising masterwork should, quite simply, not be missed.