13 Mar A Most Violent Year Review


New York State of Mind

New to FlixFling this week is the crime drama, A Most Violent Year, the latest feature from writer-director J.C. Chandor. Set in New York City in 1981, the film follows Columbian immigrant Abel Morales and wife, Anna, as they try to keep their oil heating business afloat amidst a tumultuous and violent market. The embodiment of the American Dream, Abel strives to maintain an upright and honest enterprise despite suspicions from the District Attorney, pressure from investors, and the need to protect his family. When his company’s trucks become a target for competitor violence and the lines of ethics begin to blur, Abel must decide what path is most right.

Constructed in the vein of an Old Hollywood thriller, A Most Violent Year is classically styled, beautifully filmed, and superbly acted. The simple story line is elevated by the complex themes that bubble up just beneath its surface, like success vs. ethics and challenging gender roles. Performances are very strong across the board, with rising star Oscar Isaac fitting nicely into his lead role as the struggling businessman. Unsurprisingly, the standout is Jessica Chastain as his tough-as-nails wife, Anna. Outfitted with a luxurious camel colored trench and an icy blond bob, Anna is glamorous, yet caustic. She seems unafraid to make the tough calls that her husband struggles with, and this challenge to his methods often causes tension between the two. Yet, it is evident that their relationship is in every way a symbiotic endeavor. They are a power couple, representing a sort of interesting dynamic not often seen in such crime dramas. A Most Violent Year doesn’t rely on cliched Mafia references or shoot-em-up sequences to keep the two hour running time moving briskly. Rather, it allows the material speak to for itself, resulting in an artfully crafted film that is a sight to behold.

Watch A Most Violent Year on FlixFling now.

This guest blog was written by Colleen Shields.