In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.
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On the outskirts of a small coastal town in the Barents Sea, where whales sometimes come to its bay, lives an ordinary family: Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov), his wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and their teenage son Romka. The family is haunted by a local corrupted mayor (Roman Madyanov), who is trying to take away the land, a house and a small auto repair shop from Kolya. To save their homes Kolya calls his old Army friend in Moscow (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), who has now become an authoritative attorney. Together they decide to fight back and collect dirt on the mayor. Written by
Director Andrey Zvyagintsev, who wanted to screen Marvin Heemeyer's story, intended to make the film in the US at first but then he read a novella called "Michael Kohlhaas" by German author Heinrich von Kleist, which was based on a 16th-century chronicle and had a similar plot. At that time, Zvyagintsev realized it was a "timeless" plot, close to the Book of Job, and decided the film should be made in Russia. The first draft of the script was ready in December 2010 and the final film is rather far from Heemeyer's story. See more »
It's all my fault.
No such thing. Each of us is guilty of our own faults. Everything is everybody's fault. Even if we confess, the law doesn't hold it to be proof of guilt.We're innocent until proven guilty. But who's to prove anything? And to whom?
Do you believe in God?
Why do you all keep asking me about God? I believe in facts. I'm a lawyer Lilya.
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I was so impressed with this movie: it just has it all. The story is about a man, Kolya, who risks to loose his property because of the arrogance of the corrupted major, the leviathan. The film opens with a beautiful sequence of landscape - cinematography is remarkable and shows the wide, desolate environment that reflects the isolation of the characters themselves. The screenplay is intriguing and well written - nothing's taken for granted and both the story and the dialogs are deeply constructed.
Kolya's character, sustained with a sincere performance, needs to be saved even though his freedom might have dangerous consequences. He refuses his friend's, Dimitry, advice to move on and build a new life somewhere else and chooses to fight for his house. The role of the woman is that of a submitted wife always watching and never taking part of any conversation or decision. She is weak and we notice it also from the relationship she has with Kolya's son. Dimitry, instead, is seen as a hero: he is admired by Kolya and fascinates Lilya (Kolya's wife). The character's unsolved dilemmas are the real trap that drags them to despair - the leviathan is inside themselves in the first place. It's a movie that is worth seeing because of his richness in humanity. It reminds us that we are all waiting for someone who can save us, maybe putting our needs in front of everyone without realizing that our decision might harm people near us.
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