The meaning of the movie Leviathan (2014). The script of the film was based not on Russian at all, but on American history. Land owner Marvin Heemeyer refused to give up his property to corporations and corrupt authorities and staged a massacre in a provincial town. “All the king’s men”, the army and the police could not force him to surrender. The scandal reached the national level, but the main character died.
At first, director Andrei Zvyagintsev wanted to make a film in America, but then he realized that he was not familiar enough with the local texture, and much more money would be needed. Maybe there were some other circumstances – we do not know. But it is quite real that the American authorities did not want the Russian to remove the “darkness” about America. Therefore, the Russian went to shoot rubbish about Russia.
Movie plot in brief
Locksmith Sergeev lives with his wife and son on the shores of the cold sea. It turns out that he occupies a very tasty piece of land, which the mayor liked very much. Sergeev tries to fight, sues the corrupt authorities and, as we can easily guess, loses both times. Then he calls for help from an old friend from Moscow who works as a lawyer. The struggle continues, but very complicated personal relationships develop between the heroes of the film, and, in the end, as it has always been in human history, evil wins.
Meaning of Leviathan
Let’s immediately reassure the patriotic public – the film was not conceived as anti-Russian. Zvyagintsev said in an interview that he read stories from different parts of the world, both developed and developing, in which a person, faced with the system, is doomed to defeat. And it doesn’t matter if the action takes place in Germany, in America or in Russia – everywhere the scoundrels who seized power violate the law and are not afraid of God, whose church they so successfully bribe and feed.
Therefore, Russian history is only a part of the world, in which evil, Leviathan, triumphs over earthly human life. But of course, the Russian flavor makes this story especially sinister – scary and chilling. The film perfectly shows the minimalist northern landscapes so beloved by Zvyagintsev. Luxurious cold sea and coastal hills, icy sun – the view seems to be prehistoric. We are told about the eternal, inescapable evil of earthly life.
The giant whale skeleton on the coast looks especially symbolic. We remember the famous biblical story: Job in the belly of the whale Leviathan. Leviathan allegorically symbolizes the evil that is inescapably present in the world – the blind and the animal. It flourished in biblical times and has not gone away today. This is the law of life.
In the family of locksmith Nikolai Sergeev, everything is very difficult: he is married with a second marriage, the relationship between his son and stepmother is complicated. Nikolai himself is now and then applied to the bottle, unable to cope with life’s problems. Moreover, it is applied in the most literal sense of the word. For the shots in which the actor Serebryakov, who plays the role of Nikolai, sips vodka straight from the bottle, Zvyagintsev was criticized by everyone and, apparently, criticized fairly. It looks like a cranberry-Russian flavor and is just fake. There, in general, everyone just does what they whip the “vodyaru” the whole film, without a break. Perhaps this is the most “Russophobic” moment in the movie. But everything else is much more universal …
So, the corrupt mayor (and we are all sure that there are no others) decided to take everything from Sergeyev – land, workshop, house. The forces are unequal, but Nikolai does not give up – he is suing the authorities and even calls for help a friend who has dirt on the mayor. However, events do not develop as they should. The lawyer started an affair with Sergeyev’s wife. “Good people” are weak, divided and powerless in the struggle for their interests.
Filming a movie in Russia, Zvyagintsev did not hesitate to honestly describe the current state of affairs in the country. We are ruled by greedy and shameless scoundrels, for whom nothing is sacred. And those who should tell them about holiness and morality are in collusion with them. The image of a local priest, well fed by the authorities, is very important here. He is even more vile and cynical than the mayor himself. Then, when the authorities finally deal with Nikolai and his family, a temple will be erected on the site of the workshop and the house, in which this scoundrel in a cassock will read sermons on truth and conscience.
Meaning of the movie’s ending
So, at the end of the film, Nikolai’s wife dies. The police find the hammer that allegedly killed her. Kolya himself is accused of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The mayor won: he intimidated the lawyer and he returned to Moscow. The son is taken under guardianship by family friends. A new church appears in the town: this is how the mayor atones for his sins. The satisfied bishop delivers a heartfelt sermon, which we, knowing everything that preceded the appearance of the temple, listen to with a bitter smile. The mayor listens to the sermon together with everyone and, leaning towards his son, says that Christ sees everything. Here it becomes no laughing matter… Then we again see the majestic server landscape and against its background – the skeletons of rotten and rusted boats and barges, so similar to the skeletons of whales. The skeleton of a whale will also be shown to us – once again. A ruined great country and eternal triumphant evil.