Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Most Violent Year

Movie Name: A Most Violent Year
Year of Release: 2014
Director: J.C. Chandor
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, Albert Brooks, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, Elyes Gabel, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Peter Gerety, Christopher Abbott, Ashley Williams, Matthew Maher
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Following the well received "All is Lost", writer/director J.C. Chandor is back, with another crackling film. "A Most Violent Year" takes place in New York, in 1981, when the city was experiencing one of the worst crime waves ever registered. The film focuses on the story of Abel Morales, a young entrepreneur, who deals with fuel and who has a big deal looming involving real estate, which will allow him to take his business to a different scale. However, the crime wave that is sprawling throughout the city has been affecting his business, since his trucks and his drivers have been attacked and robbed quite frequently. One of these drivers, fearing for his safety, uses a gun to retaliate, which sets in motion a series of events that threatens to destroy Abel's empire.
J.C. Chandor has systematically been building an interesting career with his features. His films tend to depict realistic situations and obstacles, and his heroes traditionally overcome these dire scenarios through much effort and intelligence. That is again the case with "A Most Violent Year" - the central hero, Abel, refuses to give into a life of crime, which sends him into conflicts with his wife, the lethal Anna, who comes from a life of crime. Abel perseveres against all obstacles in order to attain his goals and still maintain his ideals and hold onto his honesty. The film exquisitely captures New York of the early 80s, and the ruthless environment that make these businesses stay afloat. The performances from Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain and Albert Brooks are fantastic, particularly Chastain, who in the scenes she has, manages to create this complex woman, a mix of sweet and feral. The cinematography from Bradford Young is stunning as is the production design from John Goldsmith. A great film worth watching!