Some unions are made for reasons other than love. The marriage of Zhenya and Boris is falling apart. Boris is having a baby with another woman and Zhenya has a rich older lover who can provide for the life she has always dreamed of. The only inconvinience is their son Alyosha. One night the boy hears his parents fighting and disappears the next day. When Zhenya and Boris start a frantic search for their son their conflict deepens, wounds are opened and the final masks are torn off. How does one carry on in a LOVELESS world?
Russian director Sergey Zvyagentsev is a contradiction. Russian viewers claim that he makes films for Europe and they are very un-Russian with their cold style and unfavorable characters, while the rest of the world sees Russia through the prism of his films. LOVELESS definitely hits the mark while describing Russian middle class, the type of conversations people have, the interests and values. While in LOVELESS all the characters are despicable people, they are universal and it is with a sense of dread you may recognise in some the people you know and even your own less favourable features.
LOVELESS has wonderful cinematography, the story is being told as much through visuals as through the dialogue. Here the camera is detached, coldly observant, many shorts start from afar, slowly moving in onto the scene, some things stay away from view even when the focus is in on them. It is not an easy film to get through, with a running time just over two hours, and there is plenty of heartbreak and anguish on display. While lacking any sort of physical violence, LOVELESS is able to awake the sense of dread similar to the best horror films out there.
Similarly to the last year’s success THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSURI the movie does not give all the answers, and it never is about the missing boy. LOVELESS is about love, its absence and the ones who left behind.