Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign-Language Film Leviathan is an amazingly good movie on a grand scale - gripping, compelling, and stunningly shot. I saw it the same weekend I saw Ballet 422, and a short review would be, movies like Leviathan make you understand what separates great movies from the undistinguished work of many less inspired filmmakers.
Now, the cinema being about nowadays Russia, you won't leave the movie theater particularly joyful, but the ending really delivers a punch with its sharp, pointed criticism at certain hypocrisies among forces in power, so you will leave with the feeling you were hit in the stomach and your jaw is still dragging on the floor, but in a good way. (Really.) Even today in spite of the many bad movies being made over the world and pretentious efforts at good movies that wallow into earnestness (won't name names, sorry), great cinema can still be made. Below is the trailer.
Here is an interview published by The Guardian of director Andrei Zvyagintsev and the review of the movie also published in The Guardian. Reviews on the New York Times website and the rogerebert.com website also provide good insights into the movie.
(Spoiler alert! Skip this paragraph if you haven't seen the movie yet.) Many journalists have made the connection between the main story line and the biblical story of Job, but given the ending, I'm not sure if we really should be invoking religion here. What remains is a beautifully acted story with gorgeous cinematography - wide shots of characters, especially in their cars, under the overwhelming landscape of an Arctic town by the sea, full of rocks and cliffs - that highlights a dimension of fate or inevitability while the life of the main character unravels.
Remarkable through and through.