Leviathan

Quite enjoyed Leviathan (2014). The Book of Job adapted to modern Russia, about losing everything one values in life and all hope for the future. Like Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry, Bergman’s Winter Light, or Akin’s The Cut, it’s about whether a life of suffering can or should be endured (when you’ve lost possessions, people, and freedom). It shares with Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, The Edge of the World, and Yol the stark indifference of nature to human endeavours, and with On the Waterfront, Touch of Evil, The Sweet Smell of Success (maybe even Brazil) the crippling powerlessness created by corruption. Like Sympathy for Mr Vengeance its slow takes are made even more difficult by being shot incredibly wide, and like The Searchers the worst violence takes place just out of frame, making it traumatically ambiguous and turning the audiences’ imaginations against them. It has a scene like the opening of The Grapes of Wrath that must be seen to be believed. It works on political, philosophical, religious, and personal levels as an inquest into deprivation, pain, and the meaning of life. ★★★★☆

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