13 February 2018 | CinemaClown
A Silent Meditation On Resentment, Regret, Loss & Toxic Relationships
Nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Oscars, Loveless is a tragedy film concerning a dysfunctional family that comes pierced with elements of mystery & political undercurrents. Encapsulated with a bleak tone & cold aura, it's a silent meditation on resentment, regret, loss & toxic relationships.
Set in Moscow, the story of Loveless follows a couple that's already broken up and is in final stages of a bitter divorce. Having already found new partners, their only unresolved matter is the custody of their 12-year old child whom neither of them want. But when the kid goes missing one day, the circumstances bring the parents together.
Co-written & directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (best known for Leviathan), the film brims with a charged atmosphere whenever the parents are in the same room and its toll on their only son who already feels unloved is heartbreaking to watch. The parents' individual lives are firmly established before the main plot kicks in, which makes their scenes together later even more riveting.
Cinematography operates the camera in a silent but smooth fashion and employs exquisite use of its cold colour palette which, in addition to its wintry ambience, only amplifies its gloomy tone. Its 128 minutes runtime is glacially paced, giving the narrative a slow burn vibe. Performances from its leads are strong & vicious while the kid playing their son leaves a solid impression in his limited screen time.
On an overall scale, Loveless is finely directed, well written & brilliantly acted but it requires a bit of patience at first and cuts real deep by the time it's over. Silently brooding & intense, it's a stark depiction of modern life in Russia. Definitely not a film for all, its slow pace & lack of proper resolution may bother few while others will be mesmerised by its unnervingly quiet tone, arresting photography, subtle political shades & social dynamics.