Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Alexey Rozin and Maryana Spivak

Rated: R for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, language and a brief disturbing image.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: February 16, 2018 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

This formidably somber Russian import from Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan) is a metaphorical, if morality tale of familial discord, an antithesis (or antidote) to Richard Curtis's intersecting romantic comedy Love Actually.

In the gelid Moscow-area gloom of Loveless (Nelyubov in Russian with English subtitles and one of the contenders for Best Foreign-Language Feature at the upcoming Academy Awards) the filmmaker and co-writer Oleg Negrin insinuate an indictment to represent what much of the motherland appears to be currently lacking. But there is also a canny vehemence which really penetrates the mind and heart.

Spouses Boris (Alexey Rozin) and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) are on the verge of a split, looking for new interests as well as unloading their abode, not to mention their spastic tempers on one another. Caught in the crossfire, so to speak, is their 12-year-old son Alexey (Matvey Novikov) who was a pawn according his mother's denigrating speech. And, finally a susceptible, reticent kid does something to complicate the maladjusted couple who fall into a pattern of dispiriting ill will.

Administrators and authorities apparently can't muster up what it takes to perform an operation with proffers on hand along with the parents to help. When they're not intimately paired up with Masha (Marina Vasilyeva) and well-to-do entrepreneur Anton (Andris Keiss) in protracted fashion perhaps as a demographics appeaser.

This interpretative, austere cinema has a moment of levity regarding divorce being taboo from a religious-minded bigwig and what a staffer does with a woman and her two kids to circumvent the situation. Loveless has many eye-openers during calamity especially when a team reaches a home where indifference and chastising is definitely not generational.

Desolation and despondency are expressed vividly by Zvyagintsev and Negrin with noticeably delicately convincing work from a not-too-often seen Novikov. Amidst the disintegration of the hardly quiet desperation of degenerates where adoration and warmth has to spread across a wide expanse from a humane, yet iron will.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Gerry Matt Claudette Jennifer Audralee Nina  Avg. 
Loveless        A-                        A- 

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