No shocker that Leviathan is one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie is ambitious and serious and takes on issues of society, all ingredients for nominee status. The surprise is that Russia officially submitted it to the Oscar committee in the first place (each country gets to choose a single title for consideration). That act is not quite at the level of Kim Jong-un sponsoring free screenings of The Interview at the Pyongyang 12-plex, but clearly somebody in Moscow messed up: Leviathan is a furious portrait of Russian bureaucracy at its most corrupt.
At the core of the plot is a simple land-grab, but the implications are far-reaching.