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Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan

Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan, 2014, 35 mm, color, sound, 141 minutes. Roma (Sergey Pokhodaev).

RUSSIAN DIRECTOR Andrey Zvyagintsev made an auspicious debut in 2003 with The Return, a film about the primal struggle of a father, returned from a long, unidentified war, to assume authority over his two adolescent, none too welcoming sons. The film’s dark biblical and mythic resonances, less blatant in Zvyagintsev’s subsequent films—The Banishment (2007) and Elena (2011)—are in full force in Leviathan, his latest work. Though it’s not exactly Long Day’s Journey into Night, lots of alcohol is consumed in Leviathan—vodka, to be exact. As in O’Neill’s play, the more we learn about the characters and their circumstances, the more this seems understandable. Kolya, who runs an auto-repair shop, lives in a small, economically depressed fishing village with his sullen wife, Lilya, and his angry teenage son, Roma.

Though in the first long shot their warmly lit house seems

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