A Most Violent Year is about an ambitious immigrant in New York City, 1981, who fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history.
I need to give definite praise to director J.C. Chandor and his ability to humanise his characters. The film is a showcase of what he is capable of behind the camera. His actors are key and without them, this film would fall apart. His casting in Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain really give the script life under Chandor’s direction. They’re supported by the likes of David Oyelowo, who is quickly becoming a well known amongst the industry as a brilliant actor who melts into any role he is given (see his performance as Martin Luther King in Selma).
A reason why the film works so well is its ability to thrill the audience, even if the title is somewhat misleading in the film actually being violent. There are dashes of murder but there’s nothing overtly violent about it. It pulls the viewer into its world of crime, deceit and death. The film was very stylised and really gave the feel of the time period it was set in with its yellows and greens.
The film is slow and long, but is never filled with a boring moment. It’s definitely one of his best films to date, and this is truly an achievment as its only his third film to date. J.C. Chandor has definitely landed himself a place amongst the the great modern day filmmakers.