A Most Violent Year
A Most Violent Year
R | 31 December 2014 (USA)
A Most Violent Year Trailers

A thriller set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city's history, and centered on the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.

Reviews
Curapedi

I cannot think of one single thing that I would change about this film. The acting is incomparable, the directing deft, and the writing poignantly brilliant.

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FirstWitch

A movie that not only functions as a solid scarefest but a razor-sharp satire.

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Donald Seymour

This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time. You have to go and see this on the big screen.

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Justina

The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.

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Clifton Johnson

Chandor has a gift: the tension simmers, the conflict builds and the characters face human conflicts. It doesn't matter whether it is Wall Street corruption, shipwrecks or family business, every movie feels high stakes. The story telling is tight, and the imagery is tighter. Performances like Isaac's here are rare, but the ability to harness them is rare too. This film is MacBeth set in 1981 New York. I wanted it to boil faster, but it cooked anyway. And the final shots were perfect.

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LiquidPoetry1921

The title alone instantly makes one think this movie is going to be thrilling. Throw in Oscar Issac, Jessica Chastain and David Oyelowo and it kicks your anticipation into high gear. That's why when the credits are rolling you feel incredibly duped and want the last two hours and five minutes of your life back!The premise? Abel Morales (Issac) is the owner of an up-and-coming heating oil company in NYC 1991, which has recently suffered the hijacking of several trucks. One driver, Julian (Elyes Gabel) is severely beaten by one of the hijackers. Abel's wife, Anna (Chastain) implores him to fight violence with violence, but he refuses. The head of the local Teamsters tells him to arm his driver's with guns for protection, but he again refuses. In addition, Abel is seeking to expand his business by purchasing a fuel oil terminal on the East River but is having a problem obtaining financing for the $1.5M deal. And somewhere in this convoluted mess is Assistant District Attorney Lawrence (Oyelowo) who is going after the entire local heating oil business for price fixing, tax evasion, etc. If my summation was disjointed, I completely agree ~ as disjointed as this movie was. Aside from Julian having a shootout in the middle of the Queensboro Bridge in the middle of the day (no...really), and Abel punching a hijacker he caught up to after a foot chase, that was about as violent as 'A Most Violent Year' ever got. Gave the movie a generous 3* out of 10...probably because I felt sorry that these great actors were wasted on this 2014 stinker.

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Christian

Oscar Isaac in his prime here, fresh off leading role in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and before his sci-fi year with Ex Machina (2015) and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), delivers deadpan and conviction as a medium-size business owner faced with financial, fiscal, legal and physical trouble. He stars opposite Jessica Chastain, Oscar-nominated for The Help (2011) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012) who plays his wife which turns out to be the most complex and interesting character. Jessica had "A Most Stellar Year" with Interstellar (2014) and her riveting performance here. She did carry her lesser role in The Martian (2015) the next year, proving to be the sci-fi year for her as well.Isaac is a force as Abel Morales and the writing and directing builds characters and tension to a boiling denouement. He has good scenes with his wife, lawyer, employees, friends, competitors and law enforcement. He even acts a crucial scene in his native Spanish. However a deleted scene where his character scolds his oldest daughter off the road is perhaps even better than all the scenes actually left in the final cut. Make sure to look for it in the DVD/Blu-Ray.Jessica plays the tough Anna Morales and the script could have windows for her to overact, but she is mostly able to nuance her performance and keep it believable and engrossing. Her scenes with her husband are the best, but she manages to protect his and their interests in others.J.C. Chandor who was nominated for Best Writing, Original Screenplay for Margin Call (2011) writes a compelling story with some strong dialogue. He directs his two leads and creates a mood of suspense and thrill as we feel for the characters their bonds, their struggles and their fate.A stunning crime drama that creeps on you and leaves you wanting more with a succulent last act. A lot of superb details in the script and a near flawless execution. Just shy of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright power couple as the Underwoods in House of Cards (2013).

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chris

'A most violent year' is an extremely thoughtful and measured drama. It isn't remotely violent and instead depicts a self made businessman who is trying to remain calm and make reasonable business decisions in the midst of a particularly violent period in recent NYC history. There are shades of gangster movie sentiments - where Abel wants to make his business legitimate (or seem legitimate). The lack of violence actually engages us in a greater human story about a man with the will to succeed at any costs. A man with vision, self- belief and measured decisions. Behind him is a wife with equal vision and more cunning. What makes the story work is some great acting. Oscar Isaac is very believable and extremely controlled. Jessica Chastain is unpredictable. Albert Brooks seemed too confined in his role but I always enjoy watching him as an actor. I also felt that David Oyelowo was underused and an intriguing story line could have been developed between his character and Abel. They never really came to a head. Overall I really enjoyed it and thought it was intelligent and thoughtful.

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