SPOILER ALERT! This is not your average happy-ending Hollywood movie. If you still believe in fairies, hobbits and the Middle Earth then you might as well forget about Leviathan. If you are one of those Internet crawlers who constantly wonders if the pill from Limitless is real, well you are already Hopeless so watching Leviathan won’t do you any good at all. No, this movie is NOT about quick fixes nor (un?)forgettable characters who succeed against all odds. What I am about to reveal you in the next lines is called flat-out reality. You don’t need to travel to Siberia to experience it…it’s all around us. So forget about rings and NZTs and the supernatural and prepare yourself ‘cause what you are about to read/watch can leave serious emotional scars.
If I had to choose one word that best describes the world depicted in the Russian movies, drama would definitely be my first choice. Throughout the years, the Russian directors have perfected the art of creating Earth’s own version of hell. They take us all from our phantasmagorical ivory towers and drag us straight into the wastelands where we have to face desolation and despair. Hope and fulfillment are long-lost words for the characters who live here. Leviathan is such an unforgiving wasteland.
In Leviathan, there are no heroes only cowards who flee at the first signs of imminent danger. Whether is by train, by car or simply by force, they abandon their loved-ones hopelessly divulging their vile nature. Love is just a word with no substance whatsoever. Everyone is for sale. The sea is the only comfort one can have in such a frozen landscape.
In Leviathan, there is no justice only corruption and foul play. Everyone can bend the laws to their own will from the all-powerful mayor to the more simple traffic police officer. The judges are mere puppets who communicate their preordained sentences fugitively so no one can understand them. The long and alembicated proceedings are just an effect of the ever-present bureaucracy. The major political and economic decisions are made behind closed doors – with the mighty tsar watching over his lieges – and most times involve bribing and threatening. Prison is the only option one can have to survive in such a frozen landscape.
In Leviathan, there is no God only humanity’s inner demons. In this God-forsaken land, the evil roams free corrupting everything in its path. The church is just a mean to one’s end, a façade for vanity, greed and deceit. The priests have the ultimate power of counseling the people when they are at a crossroad, from the mayor to the cursed soul of Kolya. “This is God’s will,” they say always expecting gratitude and small(ish) gifts. No decision is made without their consent and ultimately their blessing. Death is the only option one can have to escape the frozen landscape.
Most importantly, in Leviathan, there is no hope only retribution. Watching it unfold is the only option one can have to truly understand.