A24/Filmnation/Participant Media (J.C. Chandor, Neal Dodson
& Anna Gerb)
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.