The Reviews are in and critics agree, ‘A most Violent Year’ is one of the best films of the year.
Set during the winter of 1981 — statistically one of the most crime-ridden of New York City’s history — A MOST VIOLENT YEAR is a drama following the lives of an immigrant and his family as they attempt to capitalize on the American Dream, while the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built. (C) A24
Currently, ‘A Most Violent Year’ is sitting at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Cinemaphile – The movie is ripe with fascinating observations, all played by actors with straightforward conviction in a screenplay that placates the urgency of the title in order to sidestep the temptation of indulging in visual excess (most of the violence on display is incidental, and nowhere near as graphic or gory as most would expect). For writer/director J.C. Chandor (a newcomer whose “All is Lost” won accolades in the festival circuit a year prior), those are not surprising qualities; of many recent new filmmakers, his talents are in establishing details without overloading them in useless fanfare. The film’s greatest scene – a meeting with prospective new hires for the sales branch of his company – contains a morsel of insight so precious that it’s remarkable how casual he approaches it; Abel speaks to his team about the effectiveness of a long stare when it comes to luring customers, and does so with his own elongated gaze that seems to cement his authenticity as both an effective leader and a competitive businessman in the thick of shark infested waters. This is a man who believes in the American Dream and will encourage all others to follow him towards it, even as the dream clearly becomes a nightmare for so many others.
Nola – In addition to showcasing Chandor’s skills at airtight world construction, “A Most Violent Year” further underscores his talents at getting the most of his cast. Oscar Isaac (of last year’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” and this year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) plays the lead with earnestness and a quiet sense of power that further burnishes his acting cred. He makes it easy to emotionally invest in his conflicted character.
Toronto Star – Oscar Isaac’s deep brown orbs reveal everything and nothing about his character Abel Morales. He’s an ambitious heating-oil entrepreneur in the crime-ridden New York of 1981, a place and era familiar from the films of Sidney Lumet, whose influence is seen and felt.
Hey You Guys – Set against the unforgiving New York landscape of 1981, one of the city’s most dangerous years to date – we meet Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) an immigrant entrepreneur who has worked his way to the top, as the owner of a heating oil company. However with a wave of crime and decay suffocating the city and threatening the man’s livelihood – with his vulnerable drivers persistently exposed to carjackings, Abel does all he can to protect his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain) and adoring daughters, all while the unsentimental, shrewd district attorney Lawrence (David Oyelowo) is breathing down his neck.