In Films by Sam Narr

Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and Boris (Aleksey Rozin) are a middle-class husband and wife on the verge of separation. Both equally as angry and out of love with each other, we follow the hunt for their son, Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), who runs away after overhearing an argument between them regarding his custody.

The two hour plus runtime allows for the audience to gain an understanding into the volatile relationship of Zhenya and Boris and tells of how Alyosha is an afterthought in the couple’s immediate domestic situation. As Loveless continues, we witness the disappearance of Alyosha and the hunt that ensues.

The overall aesthetic and standard of acting in Loveless is very high throughout, the initial overload of anger and resentment has to be quickly contrasted with loss and desperation – a task that Spivak and Rozin masterfully accomplish.

Moscow acts as a perfect lens to Loveless. The environment gives the perfect, bleak balance to the equally as cold plot. This is exaggerated by long pauses at the end of scenes which feels awkward upon first viewing but allows for digestion and immersion into the icy world of Zhenya, Boris and Alyosha.

Other observations throughout Loveless include the additional sub-plot of unrest in Eastern Europe, specifically Crimea, which is in most news broadcasts that we hear throughout the film. This could easily relate back to the personal battles and war that Zhenya and Boris are experiencing, whilst setting the tone for the atmosphere and mood in Moscow at the time. There’s also a nod to the humble selfie, with Zhenya and other females throughout the film taking them in contrived ways which seems slightly bizarre but could be a reflection of female confidence and status within middle-class society.

Loveless is an examination into the destruction of domestic bliss and the impact of lovelessness in multiple forms. It’s a compelling and, at times, gripping tragedy.