Everyone knows how wonderful New York City is, all you have to do is listen to any song about it or any movie ever made about it. While those two things always talk about the shine of New York, few talk about the not-so-clean part of it. In the early 1980’s New York was not the happy place it is now, it was dirty and filled with all kinds of crime. With all that crime though comes stories, and writer and director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) uses that time to bring his latest to life.
Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is a man who has worked hard to get what he wants. As an owner of a heating oil company, he is on the verge of closing on a property that will solidify his future. With his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain) and his kids by his side everything seems perfect. Success though can bring problems, like others not liking a immigrant making strides in the heating oil world, as Abel has to contend with his trucks being stolen for their contents. If that was not enough D.A. Lawrence (David Oyelowo) are bringing charges against Abel for questionable business practices. Nothing though is going to get in the way of Abel’s plan to expand his business and he will do anything, including borrowing money from his competition to make it happen. The only question is will he be able to make it happen with all the obstacles that stand in his way.
This is a brilliant story with a storyteller and a cast that are all at the top of their game. Isaac and Chastain both had stand out performances last year, and Oyelowo has been making a name of him, and might have a great chance to win some awards with his performance in “Selma” later this year. Add Chandor to that list and you have everything there to produce high expectations and it doesn’t disappoint. The end of the year is the time when movies get released to make that push for all those shiny awards, which sometimes makes it hard for some movies to stand out. While some movies need that push to remind people who good it was, “A Most Violent Year” is one of those movies that doesn’t need much help. As someone who watches more movies then I can count, it is the movies like this that make up for all those unwatchable ones, and while this film will be harder to find in order to see it, it defiantly worth the effort, because this is one of the best movies you will see all year.