Cert: 15 Runtime: 125 mins Director: J.C. Chandor Cast: Oscar Issac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola and Albert Brooks
My husband is not my father. Not even close. So if I were you, I would start treating us with a little more respect or I guarantee he will make it his mission in life to ruin you
J.C. Chandor impressed me greatly last year with All Is Lost, this year he is back with A Most Violent Year. This hasn’t been receiving much awards recognition, bar Jessica Chastain’s role allegedly. Oscar Issac was the break out actor of 2014 for me he is everywhere now Star Wars, X-Men and the soon to be released Ex Machina. What is A Most Violent Year about? Young immigrant Abel Morales (Oscar Issac) is a firm believer in the American Dream. Through hard graft, he’s worked his way up the ladder and now runs a heating oil company. Along the way, he married his former boss’s daughter, Anna (Jessica Chastain), and they live in a nice suburban home with their children. But this is corrupt, crime-ridden New York City in 1981. His crooked competitors don’t take kindly to an honest businessman in their midst. So they launch a campaign of dirty tricks and violent intimidation that even puts Abel’s family in the firing line. Meanwhile, the DA (David Oyelowo) launches an investigation into his business.
To start off, both of these actors deliver great performances and make you feel every word their
saying. This is definite kudos to Chandor. His ability to humanize his characters is impeccable and A Most Violent Year is a clear cut showcase of what he is capable of behind the camera. Jessica Chastain is unbelievably good playing a manipulative Shakespearean femme fatale. The supporting cast features David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, and the great Albert Brooks and they are absolutely exceptional in this film. It is not a film about an event or a chronicle of the most violent year in New York’s history, it is about characters. It is a character driven film and those of you who are looking for something a bit more filling regarding entertainment value, you’ll be sorely disappointed with this film. My only issue that I had with A Most Violent Year is the cinematography. Bradford Young is an great cinematographer and really does well behind the camera but I don’t feel as though he captured the essence of 1981. The film is crisp, clean and very digitized considering the time period we’re supposed to be set in. Despite the digital look, the film’s colors are very cold and desolate, making New York look as if it were on its way to becoming a deserted wasteland. It’s a slow burner but a good one at that.