Following a highly successful theatrical run that brought in over $1 million at the box office, one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2014 is finally coming to Blu-ray/DVD tomorrow from Sony Pictures Classics. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan” is a masterpiece that dissects the complexity of Russian society through a family drama that is as intimate as it is monumental in the themes it explores. Religion, government, and betrayal are all monsters haunting a righteous man at the mercy or their powers.
The carcasses of things that once were powerful are always present in the northern Russian town at the center of acclaimed Cannes-winning “Leviathan.” Imposing beasts, both natural and manmade, rest lifeless in the vast terrain that serves as backdrop for the sharply written human drama. These ferocious monsters also represent the decaying institutions that rule the fate of mankind on earth: religions and governments. When faced with these enormous forces, an ordinary man, Nikolay (Aleksey Serebryakov), is left adrift and powerless broken by injustice. Betrayed, robbed, and accused, Nikolay becomes a prime example of a virtuous and just man suffering at the hands of immeasurable evil.
Zvyagintsev’s latest achievement functions both as a subtly poignant political statement and a riveting exploration on morality without ever calling upon heavy-handed narrative elements or pretentious dialogue. His screenplay is delicately constructed of effective visual references, sophisticated metaphors, and nuanced characters. On the surface the interpersonal relationships work on an emotional level, but the biblical undertones and the culturally specific touches elevate the compelling plot to heights of masterful storytelling. Not only does he make acute observations on contemporary Russia through his vision, but he does it in a truly cinematic manner making use of the landscape, his actors, and the beautiful shades of blue that permeate his frames.
Audiences can now experience this new classic of international cinema alongside insightful special features that give us a more profound look at this Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning film. The extra content includes several deleted scenes, and a great interview with director Zvyagintsev where discusses in an easygoing manner some of the motivations behind the film. We learn about the true American story that inspired the filmmaker to write a film about a man at the end of his rope and the biblical elements present on it.
Added to this, Sony Pictures Classics also included a short documentary piece on the making of “Leviathan,” which showcase the incredible locations and Zvyagintsev’s vision, plus for even more information directly from the source there is also audio commentary by the film’s director and producer. This is definitely a great release for any fans of Zvyagintsev and World Cinema in general.
Hands down the best film to come out of Russia in recent memory and one that will challenge the viewer’s perception on some of life’s most intriguing questions.
“Leviathan” is out on Blu-ray/DVD on Tuesday May 19th!
Commentary with Dir.Andrey Zvyagintsev & Producer Alexander Rodnyansky