A Most Violent Year, directed by JC Chandor and starring Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, and David Oyelowo, succeeds on both entertaining the audience and posing questions of morality to its viewers. The film offers lessons on how a man has to make decisions in difficult times, a task made impossible by circumstances at hand. JC Chandor manages to portray realism on screen, doing so in an extremely convincing method.
To begin with, the film is a gritty look at the life of a man who works hard and to achieve his ambitions. This film is not a gangster flick, but rather an intricate look at circumstances and their effect on characters. Oscar Isaac does exceedingly well portraying Abel Morales, a man who believes that the path one takes is more important than the end result. Jessica Chastain also gives an electrocuting performance as Anna Morales, playing a woman who tries to support her husband in his view on the right path. What’s unique about Chastain’s representation is that she provides her character with multiple dimensions. One dimension of the character is a devoted wife, but the other is a woman who is ripped apart by two factors: morals and the real danger of life. The script is also marvelously written, with JC Chandor managing to cultivate chemistry between Isaac and Chastain through the script and his direction.
The film is not just morally uplifting, but thrilling at times, and scenes of characters being chased really captures the tone of the film, a social thriller. The film mostly succeeds through its unexpected nature. JC Chandor shows the American Dream with a twist, making the characters human and relatable compared to those of other films. Unlike other films, A Most Violent Year has characters with fundamental flaws. Despite the film being called A Most Violent Year, the violence is infrequent. Yet viewers be warned: when violence occurs, it is by no means meaningless, but instead praiseworthy in the method by which it relates to the story and the concept of realism. A Most Violent Year is an entertaining and thought-provoking film worthy of people’s attention.