Leviathan: A twisted homage to Putin’s Russia

Sinéad Walsh is a master of prose in film reviews, too!

Gender, Peace and Protest

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan is being billed by cinemas as the tale of a provincial car mechanic who takes on a corrupt mayor to save his family home. Critics have called the film a “a beautiful, bleak satire for Putin’s must-see list” (Independent), “a savagely powerful portrait of Putin’s Russia” (FT), and “a scathing indictment of Russia under Putin” (NYT Arts Beat). Multiple reviews in TheGuardian suggest that this “Putin-bashing film” has somehow “slipped under the authorities’ totalitarian radar”.

Reading some of the reviews, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the film was inspired by the biblical tale of David and Goliath – not the Book of Job. Here is the thing you need to know about Leviathan: it doesn’t end happily. Yes, critics will get excited about the oblique references to Putin and to Pussy Riot. However, the film that I saw…

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