Leviathan Crushes It — Almost Certain to Win Palme d’Or

Well, that tip I got the other night about Andrey Zvagintsev‘s Leviathan turned out to be correct. It’s a drop-dead brilliant, awesomely-composed-in-every-respect melodrama and moral tale that concurrently serves as a microcosm of (or metaphor for) a morally compromised, ruthlessly malevolent, bare-knuckled Russia. Vladimir Putin will love it! (Kidding.) Political corruption, lust and infidelity, way too much vodka, blackmail and thuggery, gunshots, bromide-dispensing priests who kowtow to powerful scumbags, huge whale skeletons, crashing waves, rotting ships — this puppy has it all plus the aura of a majesterial art film plus opening and closing musical passages by Phillip Glass plus the most beautifully lighted, handsomely composed widescreen photography (by Mikhail Krichman) I’ve seen in a long time. And of course, Zvyagintsev, 50, best known for The Return (’03) and Elena (’11), is the grand maestro extraordinaire. And the acting — Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Dmitri Seleznev, Aleksey Serebryakov, Anna Ukolova — isn’t “acting” but rooted, rock-solid behavior that kicks ass all the way around the block and back to your driveway. The consensus inside the Salle Debussy lobby among a few select critics was that Leviathan, a home run if I’ve ever seen one, is a very likely candidate to win the Palme d’Or. It just delivers on all fronts to such an impressive degree…I don’t see how the jury can deny it.

  • jermsguy

    In Russia, film denies the jury.

  • MAJA

    even if not competing, promote this one:


  • otto

    wow. so, my interest is piqued.

    I pray that this is not a classic JW Wolf/ZDT overhype.

    • “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Zero Dark Thirty” were/are double grade-A films. I didn’t overhype them because they lived up to the hyperbole & then some.

      • otto

        Both were fine films, although Wolf was more forgettable. They were NOT great films, and that’s the impression I got from reading your praise of them.

        • Perfect Tommy

          Well, they were no Silver Linings Playbooks…

          • Stewart Klein

            Or even Moneyball or The Social Network

      • Wells can sound really dubious when he knocks a movie but he’s usually dead-on when it comes to praising something, WOLF & ZD/30 included.

  • Muscle McGurk

    You actually stayed for the whole movie?

  • Could actually be translated as “at last, finally a film starring MEN!”

    • Oh, c’mon, Sasha….did you even attend last night’s screening? Two VERY strong female roles.

    • Tucker Dimpy

      A Woman? A Woman!!!

  • Steven Gaydos

    Well if you go back to when you were dissing the Cannes lineup and I was saying this guy was one of the most exciting directors in the world who’s made three films I loved, one of which was masterpiece, two of which were absolutely first rate…

  • John Cope

    No, Palme goes to the Godard.

    • Thom Phoolery

      Didn’t he already win one for Cabin in the Woods?

  • cyanic

    I was hoping someone else would make the joke about this film and the 1989 original.

    • Where’s Thom Phoolery? He’s slacking off.

      And more importantly, what is the story behind your avatars?!?

      • cyanic

        Transparent wear on men arouses me.

        • See, I thought there was a chance it was more nuanced than that.

          Now I’m trying to come up with a decent sock puppet joke…

          • cyanic