In this Russian political drama, a small land owner named Koyla is being told by the government that his property will be bought out from under him in return for a less than fair monetary compensation. Koyla decides to ask his lawyer friend from Moscow, Dmitri, to help him fight the corrupt mayor in the dispute. It seems that asking for Dmitri’s help will pay off due to the large amount of dirt he has on the mayor as blackmail, but when things begin to go south at home for Koyla, Dmitri begins to become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
Leviathan is a slow-burn political drama that mixes in plenty of good story telling with intricate characters. The first half of the movie focuses heavily on the land battle with the mayor and the court rulings. Koyla feels like he can’t win until Dmitri steps in and things begin to turn around. Koyla is happy with sense of power he has over the mayor. He spends more time with his son and friends who he had been neglecting. All is right for him and his family.
There is a turning point in the movie where Dmitri screws up and things begin to spiral out of control for Koyla and his family. The relationships are a worn thin and everyone is on edge. The mayor has an open window to allow the family to destroy itself from the inside, yet he still feels it necessary to push hard on Dmitri to back off. Either way, the mayor is feeling a sense of relief.
As far as a movie goes, Leviathan feels a lot like Gone Girl to me. It has a great set up with strange and distinct characters, but as the movie unfolds, it gets more shocking and uneasy. The ending doesn’t have a true climax and the resolution is unsatisfying and frankly one that would keep me from watching it again. Had the ending been one that felt complete, this movie would be highly recommended by me, but for now, it is simply a well-made movie with an ending that will leave many unhappy.
7/10 Stars – A well-made drama about how the little man is bullied by the people in power. The ending is the only thing that kept me from loving this movie… think Gone Girl in scale…