Loveless (2017)

After criticizing Russian society and making a strong commentary on government corruption in Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev delivers Loveless, a depressing portrait of a family in crisis that works as a commentary on the world we live in. 

The story is that of a married couple, Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and Boris (Aleksey Rozin), going through a divorce. They both have new partners and can't wait to start their new lives but there's something in their way, their 12-year-old son Alyosha (Matvey Novikov). During one of their arguments, they start fighting over who should have the boy's custody, Alyosha overhears that neither of them wants him and runs away. It's only two days later that they realise the boy is missing and they team up to find him.

Although it looks like it, this isn't the typical runaway story where the two soon-to-be-divorced parents are drawn closer as they search for their son. Zvyaginstsev's story is completely different. It isn't about the search itself, although there's something incredibly gripping about the search for the boy, it's a character study.

Both Zhenya and Boris are selfish, self-absorbed and heartless characters who don't care about their son, they are searching for him because that's what they are supposed to do, because that's their social obligation. During the search for their son, Zhenya even tells Boris that she should have had an abortion. They have no characterization nor development whatsoever. Also, the story is told with so much distance and in such a depressing, hopeless way that it's impossible to see them as human beings. 

Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing, Sony Pictures Classics, Altitude Film Distribution
As I said above, Loveless is also a dark, bitter commentary on our society. It shows the emptiness, the apathy, the lack of compassion and love, the selfishness and the self-absorption that's been poisoning our society for years now. 

Zvyaginstsev's direction is pretty much flawless. The camera moves exactly how it's supposed to, lingering on Russian winter landscapes and cityscapes so to convey a melancholic atmosphere. The cinematography by Mikhail Krichman is truly gorgeous and the cold tones capture the coldness and unhappiness of the characters. Even the beautiful score emphasizes the feelings of Zhenya and Boris. And the performances are amazing as well.


  1. I wasn't crazy about Leviathan but I do want to see this. I have it saved in my Netflix queue whenever it decides to release here.