In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.
When slaughterhouse workers Endre and Mária discover they share the same dreams, where they meet in a forest as deer and fall in love, they decide to make their dreams come true, but it's difficult in real life.
Still living under the same roof, the Moscow couple of Boris and Zhenya is in the terrible final stages of a bitter divorce. Under those circumstances, as both have already found new partners, the insults pour down like rain in this toxic familial battle zone, always pivoting around the irresolvable and urgent matter of Alyosha's custody, their 12-year-old only son. Unheard, unloved, and above all, unwanted, the introverted and unhappy boy feels that he is an intolerable burden, however, what his parents don't know is that he can hear every single word. As a result, when Boris and Zhenya finally realize that Alyosha has been missing for nearly two days, it is already too late. But is this a simple case of a runaway teenager?Written by
Moscow, 2012: Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and Boris (Aleksey Rozin) are a miserably married couple preparing for a divorce as they try to sell their apartment. Each has a new lover as they prepare for their new lives but both are negligent of their tormented twelve-year old son, Alyosha (Matvey Novikov) - thus causing a major twist in the story.
Director/co-writer Andrey Zvyagintsev created a sensation with the very powerful "Leviathan" released in 2014. The earlier film was very critical of the authorities in Russian society (which irked actual Russian authorities) while "Loveless" is critical of the degradation of Russian individuals and society in general. Some characters are more attached to their smartphones than to the people around them. Boris is attached to the endless news cycle. (In one such scene, it is fascinating to hear the biased Russian media's take on the troubles in Ukraine a few years back).
Boris's worst characteristic is his extreme indifference to others while Zhenya is a verbally abusive monster. It is easy to despise her for the way she treats her husband and son but her story is brought to the forefront when the viewer witnesses her with her equally monstrous mother (Natalya Potapova). At this point the viewer sees Zhenya as someone at both ends of the tragic "unwanted child" syndrome - a trait that is sadly hereditary.
Among Zvyagintsev's gifts is the way he handles sex scenes. Rather than the quasi-pornography that is rampant in modern films, the sex scenes in this film are actually erotic and intimate. And despite the film's title, they do represent rare moments when people are loving toward each other.
He is also adept at maintaining a bleak mood throughout the film - one that reflects most of the characters and the society around them. There is an extended scene that involves an abandoned building. One can't help but observe that the building looks functional and even pleasant in some rooms. Like some of the human characters, it was unnecessarily neglected and left to rot.
The epilogue of "Loveless" takes place a few years after the main story. Without giving anything away, its conclusion is sad yet not altogether surprising considering the scenes that preceded it. It's the right conclusion for a very good film with very powerful performances. And its subtle jab against the degradation of people via modern technology is not just a Russian problem; it's truly universal. - dbamateurcritic
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