A Most Violent Year United Arab Emirates, USA 2014 – 125min.
A Most Violent Year
New York, 1981. An ambitious immigrant, Abel Morales and his wife Anna run a heating oil company, which they plan to use to buy a strategic piece of waterfront property. But the deal is threatened by a series of violent hijackings of their trucks, slowly ruining their good reputations and making them seem like their corrupt competitors. As Anna tries to talk him into using violence and corruption himself, Abel resists applying the same tactics as the gangsters that dominate the industry.
In just a few years, J.C. Chandor has become one of America’s most popular directors. Nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar for Margin Call, he also directed the buzz-generating Robert Redford vehicle All is Lost and has now joined the big leagues with A Most Violent Year. Unfortunately, this project lacks power and clarity. Although Chandor confirms his ability to grab the audience by the throat in many remarkable scenes, his third movie seems unable to rise to the level of its ambitions. This is reflected in the character played by Jessica Chastain, who is oddly underused despite her performance being nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes. A Most Violent Year is too conventional and too classic to live up to its reputation.