7.0/10
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197 user 366 critic

A Most Violent Year (2014)

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In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city's history.

Director:

J.C. Chandor

Writer:

J.C. Chandor
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Popularity
1,362 ( 2,032)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 15 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Oscar Isaac ... Abel Morales
Elyes Gabel ... Julian
Jessica Chastain ... Anna Morales
Lorna Pruce ... Toll Booth Attendant
Christopher Abbott ... Louis Servidio
Matthew Maher ... John Dominczyk
Albert Brooks ... Andrew Walsh
Jerry Adler ... Joseph Mendelsohn
Quinn Meyers ... Moishe Mendelsohn
Chester Jones III ... Beat Cop (as Chester Jones)
David Oyelowo ... D.A. Lawrence
Ashley Williams ... Deputy Lange
Glenn Fleshler ... Arnold Kline
Jimmy Palumbo ... Barber Jimmy O.
Daisy Tahan ... Annie Morales
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Storyline

A crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city's history, and centered on the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built. Written by Production

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

New York City 1981, a dangerous time to build an empire. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

30 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jc3 See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$188,000, 2 January 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,749,134, 26 April 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Oscar Isaac's oil company in the movie is called Standard Heating Oil Co. In Drive (2011), Oscar Isaac's character was called Standard Gabriel. The name of the company can be seen in a scene where Isaac is stood atop one of his trucks, with Standard emblazoned in huge writing beneath him. See more »

Goofs

The movie takes place in 1981, but the Twin Towers are missing from the New York City skyline, even though they were part of the skyline from 1968 to 2001. See more »

Quotes

Anna Morales: I told you. I wasn't gonna continue to stand around and let these people come and get me and my children. Unlike you, who seems to be completely comfortable just standing around like some fucking pussy, I decided to do something about it.
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Connections

References The Godfather (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Me and the Blues
Written & Performed by Ray Bryant
Courtesy of Concord Music Group, Inc.
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User Reviews

He's Pacino without the edge. One of best crime thrillers in years.
28 January 2015 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

It's 1981 NYC, and it's not American Hustle. A Most Violent Year is set in the most brutal year in the city's history, when Mayor Koch and the DA would not like it to be so. While Hustle sets the scene with humor and style, Violent is happy to understate lawlessness and concentrate on the dialogue, which has undercurrents of corruption in each syllable.

Oscar Isaac plays immigrant, oil delivery company owner, Abel Morales, with an Al-Pacino veneer that goes low key, not Godfather or Scarface operatic. His double-breasted suits and ever-present camel overcoat suggest the smooth, verbal, charismatic, but unassuming business owner who wants to be as straight as his wardrobe. It's a difficult ideal because someone is hijacking his oil trucks and selling the oil on the black market.

What to do? His wife Anna (Jessica Chastain), beautiful but born to a crime family, is at times more ready to deal with the sabotage in a traditional mob way than her husband is. But Morales deals with it in a civilized, diplomatic way that of course makes him and his employees vulnerable to the rude, irrational hoodlums.

Director J.C. Chandor knows minimalist dialogue, apparent in his All is Lost, where Robert Redford gives out with one line but an Oscar worthy performance anyway. Much more dialogue here, still minimal, but it has the David Mamet attention to the power of each word.

In a world Sidney Lumet depicted quite well, everyone has a brush with lawlessness, from truck drivers to cops to politicians—no one is exempt, except maybe Morales, who tries to do the "best right" thing in the face of pressure to use violence as the tried-and-true technique. That's why this is such a sweet action, crime drama: You can identify with the protagonist and not be bogged down by gratuitous violence.

This is one of the best action-crime dramas in years. Isaac is Pacino without his edginess; Chandor's dialogue is soft Mamet, a welcome substitute for rude bullets. Indeed, while the film is titled A Most Violent Year, it is not the most violent movie. Leave that to Martin Scorsese.


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