A Most Violent Year
The Good...
  • Fantastic acting and great chemistry between the entire cast
  • Script takes all the right turns (pace, atmosphere, suspense … just everything)
  • Stays true to its cause until the very end
The Bad...
  • One could argue the movie is slow but it’s deliberate so that is not a con
  • Don’t watch the trailer – it gives too much away
4.2Overall Score

It seems like a million years away since I found the time to really sit down and watch a movie – there is the occasional summer time, the busy times at work and just purely a low supply in good movies. But well the good thing is that with the end of August, we are fully on track for the start of Oscar season, and to say it in CEO-ish:”I couldn’t be more excited about what’s coming next.” To kick off my personal Oscar season, I actually made a good pick for a change and watched A Most Violent Year –  a movie which has been on my To-Watch-List since January. I was really excited for this movie for two reasons – 1) I love gangster movies and 2) the 80s flair of gritty and cold New York City. And I have to say, it was pure-movienerd-joy to watch this film.


Courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk

The plot about a young entrepreneur who is struggling to keep its business growing amidst forces from all directions to keep him from succeeding; his family ties to the Brooklyn crime scene make him a target for the local authorities, his highly-competitive business lends itself to crooked industry practices and his plans to expand are being sidetracked from all the above angles and then some. From the first moment, the film hits the right tones in almost every aspect – the atmosphere of the ice-cold sunny New York city with all the graffiti and the grit of the early 1980s is perfectly staged. The introduction of the main character shows him a strong, calm and ambitious man who has his eyes on the target and that is success – but is not willing to compromise his moral standards for that success. That is what sets him apart and that is what will make his life a living hell for the next 125 minutes.

There were so many things I liked about this film which makes it hard to pinpoint what it was exactly – all the necessary movie elements where perfectly blend it together. The story felt in my mind very realistic and the author of the script managed to convey the complexity of the business and its actors – yet keeping all the elements at a “manageable” amount not to loose the audience. In that context, the development of the characters was meticulously planned and executed – Oscar Isaac can be described best as a more elegant Tony Soprano who – however manages to stick to his moral principles even if it is the most uncomfortable position he can choose. His wife is acted out so perfectly by Jessica Chastain (and I could not imagine a better fit for this role) – she is equally strong-willed and doing all she can to make their family as a whole reach the top. The interplay between the couple was perfect – it had all the elements of a real relationship; some drama, love, conviction and most importantly teamplay. And I liked how these elements were put to a test along the way – beautifully acted out by Isaac and Chastain (really great chemistry).

What I also really enjoyed was the pacing and the atmosphere – as already mentioned above the movie is set in New York of the 1980s – in a world where people went out for a run with a Walkman and had no smartphones (which would have helped out quite a bit in certain situations). It seemed that every element of the stage had a relevance later on in the movie – it is relevant that Isaac is a runner, it is relevant that it is winter (in terms of oil prices) and it is relevant that Isaac is a strategic businessman (who always thinks of the implications before making his next move).

Looking for a second at what I have written, I can tell that I have hard time getting back into the jist of things – so I will try to cut it short and come to a conclusion; A Most Violent Year is a great movie which picks all the elements which make to a great film in the exact right amount – it is suspenseful, intelligent and perfectly paced movie with fantastic characters.

So go and see it … Do it now.

Courtesy of http://impawards.com

Courtesy of http://impawards.com

  • Running time: 125 min
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Year: 2015


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