Paravel and Castaing-Taylor’s non-narrative, anthropological collaboration – both a documentary and an abstract horror film – depicts the mayhem of life and labour on a large fishing vessel through chaotic, overwhelming first-person footage on the ship, under it and even above it. The name comes from that biblical terror from the sea, and the film is a thundering beast itself.
In its opening stretches, what’s on screen feels almost primordial. The world is clearly our own but unrecognisable; the visceral noise, rusty colours and images, like fish-blood geysers from the side of the ship, feel straight out of some vision of the apocalypse. It’s this quality that makes a late sequence that simply observes an exhausted man staring at a television, and looking almost like a husk, a profoundly moving sight after the prior sensory rush. Leviathan is likely like nothing you’ve ever seen, with filmmaking methods you can barely comprehend, and it absolutely demands to be seen on the big screen. [Josh Slater-Williams]