Sunday, August 4, 2013

250 Words or Less: Leviathan (2013)

In which the uneasy coexistence of man and nature is rendered in a stream of imagery the likes of which you've never seen before. It's not a "documentary" in the usual sense—in terms of cold hard facts, you won't walk away with any more than you brought in—but it's certainly a document: filmed on the Atlantic Ocean with a series of inventively-mounted waterproof mini-cameras, it opens with a quote from the Book of Job before taking the plunge, robbing you of your sense of space and direction and replacing it with very primal fear and awe.  (Gaze in wonder at the trailer above).  Watching the most stunning passages of Leviathan is like swimming in the open water, sticking your foot down, and realizing that the bottom is nowhere within reach, and one of the film's accomplishments is making the presence of people in this world seem as alien as anything else on screen. I'd love to see the techniques picked up by narrative filmmakers, but as it stands, this may be one of the best avant-garde films of the new decade.  It's a sensory journey through a world that both has a rigorous cycle and is chaotic as hell.  Sometimes, a reference to the Old Testament is all the narrative context you need. 

4 out of 5 stars. 

Leviathan is in limbo between theaters and home video.  The blu-ray will probably be pretty bitchin'.