Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Part fond remembrance of an early-’80s Leningrad rock scene and part glam-rock fever dream, Leto asks an audience to surrender to excess and at times to silliness, and it richly rewards them for doing so.
For a movie about a fleeting moment, it leaves a surprisingly resilient ache.
Leto is one of those movies that whisks us into a world that feels both familiar and fresh, like a sense memory of a life we might have lived if we’d been born in another decade or on another continent.
It’s a shambling, transportive, and semi-tragic story about a fleeting past where anything seemed possible.
At heart, it's more concerned with capturing the feel of the early '80s, the paranoia but also spirit of communal life in crowded apartment blocks.
If not as overtly political as “The Student,” Leto nonetheless represents about as flamboyant a statement of free artistic expression as Serebrennikov could make at this moment: There’s certainly nothing contained or inhibited about its celebration of artists who themselves were given little support or leeway by the Soviet government.
What Leto understands is that the lives of these Russian rock pioneers never approached the excess and flashbulb excitement their American and British counterparts enjoyed. Steadicamming through modest concert venues and studio spaces, the film replaces the melodrama of the typical rock biopic with lots of downtime, spent recording and talking about music.
Serebrennikov...has a great eye for composition and crafting a set piece, but the meandering pace and loose approach to storytelling makes his second feature akin to an album front loaded with banging tunes and the rest is filler.
Leto is a film with some wonderful moments and some slightly forgettable stretches – like an album with one or two wonderful tracks.
Screen Daily
The film’s energy and passion (and no doubt, eye for detail) can’t be faulted, but a tighter film could have more pointedly made the connection between the subjects’ brief lifespans and the fate of a young culture of refusal that arguably died when the system it questioned was replaced by a differently oppressive social order.

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