A Most Violent Year

D: J.C. Chandor
A24/Filmnation/Participant Media (J.C. Chandor, Neal Dodson & Anna Gerb)
US 2014
125 mins


W: J.C. Chandor
DP: Bradford Young
Ed: Ron Patane
Mus: Alex Ebert

Oscar Isaac (Abel Morales), Jessica Chastain (Anna Morales), David Oyelowo (Lawrence), Alessandro Nivola (Peter Forente), Albert Brooks (Andrew Walsh)

The title refers to 1981, statistically the worst year in New York City for violent crimes.
Oscar Isaac plays an immigrant who has built a small business empire in the oil industry, and in the week building up to a big contract negotiation for a plot of land, he finds his interests hit. Trucks are jacked at gunpoint, employees are attacked and even his family seem to be a target in their opulent new home. With an ambitious district attorney breathing down his neck over possible fraud and embezzlement, can the business deal be seen through without resorting to more criminal means?
Plot similarities can be made with the 1983 version of Scarface, with Oscar Isaac doing his best Pacino as a Latino immigrant though his empire has been built on business rather than criminal activity, though the story seems to insinuate that there's a very thin line between them.
There's much build up to an ending that doesn't quite pay off, but it's still an enjoyable watch due to the strength of the acting performances and the good production values.

Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year
Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year