Writer/Director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan is a bleak, Job-like story of modern-day life in Northern Russia.
Kolya (Aleksey Serebyakov) is a hot-head whose home and land is being taken away under the Russian version of eminent domain at a price less than 20% of its value.
Try as he may to fight it, he is not one of the in-crowd and the political powers against him are all corrupt.
Even his childhood best friend (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), a lawyer, can’t help him and ends up being beaten by Kolya for sleeping with his wife (Elena Lyadova) and, then, being beaten by the henchmen of the sleazy mayor (Roman Madyanov).
Kolya doesn’t help himself by taking vodka by the bottle instead in shots. When his wife commits suicide, he is convicted of killing her and sent to prison for 15 years.
Ironically, the mayor, then, has a church built on the site of his home.
There is no one to root for in this happy little melodrama. Nevertheless, it is well-acted and well-told. My Ukrainian viewing guest took it in stride as a typical story in that part of the world. Nothing to be done.
I give Leviathan a 4 out of 5.