Writer/Director J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year is an interesting depiction of a man’s attempt to be as honorable as possible while involved in a business that is full of graft, violence and corruption.
Oscar Isaac, whose talent, in my estimation, was wasted in the disastrous Inside Llewyn Davis, sounds and looks like a young Al Pacino as his character Abel Morales tries to pull off his dream deal while keeping his oil delivery business afloat. The dramatic problem is that he doesn’t act like Al in The Godfather, but more like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life.
Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the film moves along at such a glacial pace I was hoping he would show his inner-Corleone.
Fortunately, for Abel and us, his wife (Jessica Chastain) has not forgotten her Brooklyn criminal family roots and is able to keep life in this slow-moving drama with her depiction of a smarter version of Jennifer Lawrence’s character in American Hustle.
Supposedly, Ms. Chastain will be up for awards for this portrayal. However, while it is thoroughly enjoyable and unique from Ms. Lawrence’s, I think she deserved, at least, a co-Best Actress award for her portrayal in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby instead of her work here, as admirable as it is.
As for A Most Violent Year, I give it a 3+ out of 5.