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post #1 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Leviathan (Blu-ray) Official AVS Forum Review



Check out our review of this compelling foreign film that pulls no punches in leaving its mark on the social conscience of its setting. In a small coastal town in Russia lives an ordinary family: Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov) his wife Lilya, and their teenage son Roma. The family is haunted by a local corrupt mayor who is trying to take away Kolya’s business, house and precious land. Kolya calls in an old friend, now an authoritative attorney, for help. Together they fight back and collect dirt on the mayor, but fate does not seem to be on Kolya’s side.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

83



Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics - 2014
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 141 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): Russian DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Roman Madyanov
Directed by: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Written by: Oleg Negin & Andrey Zvyagintsev
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 19, 2015


"Freedom is finding God’s truth"


My Take:

From Andrey Zvyagintsev, the acclaimed director of The Return (Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner and Golden Globe nominee). Koyla (Alexey Serebryakov) lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya (Elena Liadova) and his son Roma (Sergey Pokhodaev) from a previous marriage. The town's corrupt mayor Vadim Shelevyat (Roman Madianov) is determined to “buy” him out in order to make room for a new building project, effectively taking away his business, house, and land. When his below market value offer doesn’t sway Koyla he resorts to bullying. This tactic only strengthens Koyla’s resolve as he fights harder not to lose everything he owns including the beauty that has surrounded him from the day he was born. Koyla brings in his long-time friend and attorney Dmitriy (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) from Moscow to help. With Dmitriy’s help they attempt to turn the tables on the mayor however things begin to unravel for Koyla and those closest to him, leaving the door open for unforeseen trouble.

One of the benefits of reviewing is the exposure to films that I probably wouldn’t have seen or heard of otherwise. Leviathan is just such an example and tells a compelling and tragic dramatic story of corruption and intimidation set in contemporary Russia. I generally tend to find foreign films of this sort to be interesting as the differences in culture and setting tend to have a direct effect on the thematic tone. That couldn’t be truer here as Leviathan tells a rather simple story of ordinary people standing up for their rights against a system where influence, motivated by religious or political agendas leaves those without power to suffer the consequences of the lower class.

At nearly two and a half hours in length Leviathan does a slow burn fueled by wonderfully crafted moments driven by the adherence to the narrative’s layer peeling elements that continually speak to the human condition as seen from the perspective of Koyla, Roma, Lilya, and Dmitriy as they struggle to contend with the matter at hand. The film incorporates two concurrent storylines that eventually come together resulting in an ending that you typically wouldn’t find in American cinema. Based upon the setting and origin of the film I thought it played out perfectly and most decidedly within the tone of the story. I never once checked the time on Leviathan and found myself completely absorbed in its dramatic flow and earthy characters. It is a visceral and scathingly relevant drama that resonates well after the credits have rolled.

This year Leviathan took home the Golden Globe for Best Foreign film, won Best Screenplay at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was an official selection at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Additionally it was a nominee for the Academy Award and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and some sexuality/graphic nudity.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA



Video: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Leviathan comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 Mbps.

By design this film doesn’t boast vibrant colors are eye popping visuals but the encoding appears solid. Colors have a muted level of saturation and those used are rarely bright which give the perception of a limited palette. Overall they are naturally rendered and appear to fall within the visual range intended. Fleshtones have appreciable complexional distinction but the lighting used can sometimes leave them appearing flat and lacking in texture. Blacks are respectable with above average delineation. Shadow detail is quite good which enhances visual perception during the scenes shot in limited lighting. Resolution is adequate so that varying degrees of detail can be seen in close ups but the video isn’t razor sharp or dimensionally strong. It isn’t a bright film which when coupled along with the reserved chromatic scheme gives it a dull finish. This seems to coincide with the creative decisions of the filmmakers and results in stable imagery that lacks the eye popping definition that some may expect from a newer film.

The DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality is solid and offers a one dimensional, frontal oriented perspective that is highlighted by the recording’s exquisite level of detail. Dialogue is centrally focused and lucid with distinguishable intonation and requisite clarity. Surround activity is limited to subtle ambience that occasionally offered some spatial dimension that extended the depth of the sound field.



Bonus Features:
  • Commentary with director Andrey Zvyagintsev & producer Alexander Rodnyansky
  • (HD) The making of Leviathan – 29 minute documentary
  • (HD) Toronto International Film Festival Q&A with director Andrey Zvyagintsev – 15 minutes
  • (HD) Deleted scenes – 22 minutes
  • (HD) Theatrical trailer





Final Thoughts:

Leviathan is a compelling and tragic dramatic story of corruption and intimidation set in contemporary Russia. I thoroughly enjoyed its visceral and scathingly relevant story that resonated well after the credits rolled. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a fair supplemental offering that includes a look behind the scenes and insights from the filmmakers. Leviathan is a rewarding film experience that comes highly recommended to fans of the genre.






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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post #2 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 08:20 AM
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Sounds like the sort of film that I love, but rarely watch any more. Thanks for the review Ralph. I will have to find time to get this and watch it.
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post #3 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 08:20 AM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph!

I was totally unfamiliar with this film before reading about it here, but this looks like a good one. I know what you mean about foreign films and cultural differences having an impact on the viewing of them, so count me in to see this on blu-ray.
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post #4 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 08:38 AM
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Ralph,

Looks like a good one - just added this to my list - THANKS!
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post #5 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 09:08 AM
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It looks like a fantastic movie, but I have to admit I was slightly let down, because I thought you were reviewing
:
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post #6 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitbrit View Post
Sounds like the sort of film that I love, but rarely watch any more. Thanks for the review Ralph. I will have to find time to get this and watch it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozar View Post
Thanks for the review, Ralph!

I was totally unfamiliar with this film before reading about it here, but this looks like a good one. I know what you mean about foreign films and cultural differences having an impact on the viewing of them, so count me in to see this on blu-ray.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post
Ralph,

Looks like a good one - just added this to my list - THANKS!
Greetings,

You're welcome guys. Be sure to post back once you've had the chance to see it as I would love to hear everyone's take.


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post #7 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 03:17 PM
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Does anyone know anything for the bluray release of the "old" Leviathan?
Do you mean this one (1989) that is available on Blu-ray? http://www.amazon.com/Leviathan-Blu-...ords=leviathan

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post #8 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 03:22 PM
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Ralph thank you for the review. I am still on the fence regarding this one. I knew about this movie when it was in the indie cinema houses last year, and read a lot of good reviews for it. I've been hesitant on this one because I did not know if this film would include an English audio track. I have never enjoyed reading the dialogue in subtitles because it takes away from seeing what is happening in the scene.

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post #9 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 03:29 PM
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Does the movie itself have a Philip Glass score or was that just for the trailer?
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It looks like a fantastic movie, but I have to admit I was slightly let down, because I thought you were reviewing this movie:
Without getting too far off topic, this one looks cool!

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post #11 of 22 Old 05-05-2015, 11:18 PM
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Hmmm...well, I'm intrigued by Ralph's description of the film given the fact that there is a huge skeleton on the cover of the DVD and it's named after a sea monster.
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Mmm, Serebryakov, great actor, always solid performance.
He gained instant popularity in USSR after playing karate prodigy in 1989's "Fanat" ( Soviet Bruce Lee of some kind ). Thankfully Serebryakov preferred serious dramatic act to exploiting hero image.
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Sounds like a good view thanks for the review.

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Watched. One of the very few movies made in Russia these days that has decent acting and story. Lately Russian filmmakers concentrate on making a complete "****".
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I watched Leviathan last weekend and although it left me with some unanswered questions, it held my interest from beginning to end. I thought it was very well acted and oh my how the Vodka flowed. I particularly like the lady reading the court document. I played the two scenes twice, once to read the subs, and another to watch her read. Thanks Ralph for the review or this one might have been missed. It was a good rental!.
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post #17 of 22 Old 05-27-2015, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco View Post
I watched Leviathan last weekend and although it left me with some unanswered questions, it held my interest from beginning to end. I thought it was very well acted and oh my how the Vodka flowed. I particularly like the lady reading the court document. I played the two scenes twice, once to read the subs, and another to watch her read. Thanks Ralph for the review or this one might have been missed. It was a good rental!.
Greetings,

Great to hear you enjoyed Leviathan Warren.


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post #18 of 22 Old 06-01-2015, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
One of the benefits of reviewing is the exposure to films that I probably wouldn’t have seen or heard of otherwise. Leviathan is just such an example and tells a compelling and tragic dramatic story of corruption and intimidation set in contemporary Russia. I generally tend to find foreign films of this sort to be interesting as the differences in culture and setting tend to have a direct effect on the thematic tone. That couldn’t be truer here as Leviathan tells a rather simple story of ordinary people standing up for their rights against a system where influence, motivated by religious or political agendas leaves those without power to suffer the consequences of the lower class.
I completely agree, we tend to watch films from different cultures in bulk to try and get a multifaceted view of different beliefs and cultures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by They_call_me_Roto View Post
Ralph thank you for the review. I am still on the fence regarding this one. I knew about this movie when it was in the indie cinema houses last year, and read a lot of good reviews for it. I've been hesitant on this one because I did not know if this film would include an English audio track. I have never enjoyed reading the dialogue in subtitles because it takes away from seeing what is happening in the scene.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco View Post
I watched Leviathan last weekend and although it left me with some unanswered questions, it held my interest from beginning to end. I thought it was very well acted and oh my how the Vodka flowed. I particularly like the lady reading the court document. I played the two scenes twice, once to read the subs, and another to watch her read. Thanks Ralph for the review or this one might have been missed. It was a good rental!.
Spoiler!

Looky here!

Last edited by robnix; 06-01-2015 at 07:47 AM.
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post #19 of 22 Old 06-01-2015, 06:51 PM
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almost bought it yesterday "used" but still sealed for $3. Eh maybe next time I go if they still have it

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I finally got to watch this last night. I thought it was a fantastic movie even though it was very dark and depressing.
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Packing a lot of sound into a small room.
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post #21 of 22 Old Today, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I finally got to watch this last night. I thought it was a fantastic movie even though it was very dark and depressing.
Greetings,

Awesome. I am glad that you enjoyed Leviathan much the same way I did.


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Watched. One of the very few movies made in Russia these days that has decent acting and story. Lately Russian filmmakers concentrate on making a complete
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