otkaznik (otkaznik) wrote,

...As for the title, it refers to many things: the fearsome view of constitutional order propounded by Thomas Hobbes, in 1651; the skeleton of a whale, stranded and whitened on the beach; and the monster named in the Book of Job, of whom the Almighty says, “Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.” Kolya’s decline, as he wrestles with the bulk of official power, is indeed Biblical in its swiftness, but at least Job wound up with a thousand she-asses. Our hero can hardly keep himself in hooch. “Leviathan” is a tale for vertiginous times, with the ruble in free fall. There must be thousands of stories like Kolya’s right now, lives folding and collapsing, upon which Zvyagintsev could cast his unfoolable eye. Despite that, he is not primarily a satirist, or even a social commentator; he is the calm surveyor of a fallen world, and “Leviathan,” for all its venom, never writhes out of control. His compositions keep their poise, and the sight of a digger destroying a house, chomping away at furniture and walls, is presented in a long and tranquil take. All ages, and all habitations, are ripe for wrecking; Roma and his mates—Russia’s future—hang out in the hull of a ruined church, around a fire. “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward,” Job was told, and we watch those same sparks, rising peacefully into the dark.

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