AFI Fest 2012
By Don Simpson | November 4, 2012
Directors: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
A profoundly mind-altering cinematic essay on the commercial fishing industry, Leviathan begins with a passage from the Book of Job. That right there is a clear sign that directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel will be feasting upon the existential struggle of man versus nature and man against god, as the crew of this particular fishing vessel constantly risks life and limb, working in the treacherous waters off the coast of Massachusetts.
Miniature GoPro cameras are attached to members of the crew, as well as parts of the ship itself, documenting everything from a bird’s — and sometimes, a dead fish’s — eye view. The kinetic pacing lends Leviathan the air of a sea-faring action flick, while the off-kilter perspective of the low resolution cinematography turns the film into an experimental art piece; regardless, this film is one hell of an experience, hell being the operative word. For some, Leviathan might be sensory overload — there will almost certainly be audience members who experience seasickness while seated in the movie theater — but as far as I am concerned, Leviathan works best in a movie theater in which the audience can become fully immersed in the sights and sounds.