“Leviathan” Review

jason March 22, 2013 3
“Leviathan” Review

Writers/Directors: Lucien Castaing-TaylorVerena Paravel

Stars: Declan ConneelyJohnny GatcombeAdrian Guillette

I’ve always hated hearing people ask for their money back at the movie theater. Sorry, but you just didn’t like the movie, and that’s a risk you take when you go to the theater. You bought a ticket for the movie and then watched a movie. Money and services were exchanged. It doesn’t matter how much you loathed it. If you order a taco and someone hands you a plate of broken glass, you have every right to complain. “Leviathan” is one of those movies where, if you were to argue for your money back, I could understand.

Movies can strive to accomplish a wide variety of things. They can educate us, give us new perspectives, or simply entertain us. “Leviathan” does none of these things, nor does it attempt to. It’s a movie strictly trying to reflect on the conscious moment and immerse you into the state of being a commercial fisherman. It’s a documentary without interviews, voiceover, music, or graphics. You don’t know anyones’ names, what boat they are on, or where they are.

It’s as if someone literally tossed a few Go-Pro cameras onto a few commercial fishing boats and edited the footage together. Unfortunately, that is exactly what it looks and sounds like. The video is often grainy, over-exposed, totally black, or downright incomprehensible. The audio is powerful and booming at times, while peaking and cracky at others. It’s an experiment in film and incredibly admirable in its attempt.

Admirability is one thing, but ambition with little-to-no base is just pretentious and hollow. I’ve never played drums, but if I joined a band and played on passion alone, I’d still be a terrible drum player. I should be heinously booed for wasting the band’s and audience’s time.  I would deserve it.  Revolutionary things aren’t just random and new for the sake of being different. They are effective perspectives not used before. What was the purpose of watching the captain’s eyes for a minute without cutting? Why did I watch seagulls over the boat for an extended period of time?

At times, I enjoyed the experience. I was in awe of the sounds and images and would have highly enjoyed it if the whole thing was edited down to seven minutes. Did you see the trailer? The trailer’s fantastic. The idea as a whole though, for me, isn’t something to watch in a theater. If it was on during an art gallery or a series of online videos, yeah, then it could work. This experience was just agitating. It was as if someone pulled a prank on me. A prank from a totally random stranger that was pulled for no reason other than to ruin my day. And for that, this movie doesn’t even get a full review. I had a terrible time watching this movie and I would like to know why anyone would enjoy it.

Extra Tid Bits:

– 8 people walked out of my screening. 25 people remained.

– “Leviathan” is getting a pretty positive reception from critics. I wonder if they actually liked it or if they assumed there was a deeper meaning they didn’t understand. Maybe it’s just me.

– There are bible quotes at the beginning of this movie. It added nothing to the experience.


  1. Jon March 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Bummer to hear. Trailer looked really interesting!

    • jason March 22, 2013 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      Big fan of the trailer. But imagine that for 87 minutes with a lot less edits.

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