Filmed off the volatile coastline of New Bedford, Massachusetts, the film Leviathan takes a unique look at the contemporary commercial fishing industry.
It follows a hulking ground fish trawler into the surrounding murky black waters on a weeks-long fishing expedition.
As this is not a conventional movie, there is no specific story line. There is no dialogue the film and it utilizes a series of intense visuals to provide the viewer a rare perspective. Sometimes the cameras are under water, or aimed at the sky at the view of a seagull.
The army of cameras provides a full exposure of the violent atmosphere of commercial fishing, driven by mass consumption of food in this country. The large nets used to swoop up the fish and the factory-like precision, breaking down the catch to go into the market reminds of the unseen process into getting the food we so often take for granted.
I am not going to get into the pluses or minuses of this system, as you could draw your own conclusions, part of the beauty of a film with no dialogue. It allows the viewer to imagine and develop an unadulterated conclusion of the system and process.
Breaking away from conventional story telling, the film becomes hypnotic and you feel as if you’re watching a painting. At times it is a struggle to figure out what you’re looking at when a close-up shot distorts the view.
This film, currently screening at the Museum of Modern Art and as of March 1 at the IFC Theater, is not for the impatient filmgoer.