A Most Violent Year (2014) - Plot Summary Poster


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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.

  • 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.

  • New York City, 1981. From an immigrant background, Abel Morales is trying to live the American dream on his own moral terms. Married to WASP Anna Morales née Robbins, Abel bought Standard, his father-in-law's heating oil distribution business operating in the New York market. Operating totally above board, Abel has made such a success of the business that he, Anna and their two daughters are moving into a palatial new mansion. It looks like he is the front runner among those competing to purchase a $2.5 million prime riverside property that would allow him to expand the business and become the largest New York heating oil distributor. If successful in his proposal - $1 million of his own money down, with the remaining $1.5 million, financed through the bank, due in thirty days - this purchase would be the most important business move of his career. However, the industry in New York is known to be fraught with illegal activity, so much so that the Assistant D.A., Mr. Lawrence, has been tasked with cleaning up the crime ingrained in the industry. Anna's father and most if not all of Abel's major competitors were and are corrupt. Lawrence's investigation includes looking into Abel's business during his father-in-law's ownership, Abel who could be charged if they look into the books from those years despite Abel having done nothing wrong himself. He and Anna have yet to be able to go through the books themselves to hide whatever required to remain clean. In addition, someone, most likely one of his major competitors, is using scare tactics and intimidation to bring him down: hijacking his trucks, so far to the tune of $200,000 worth of stolen oil, beating up his drivers, beating up his salesmen, and making veiled personal threats against him and his family. Even if it is not one of his major competitors orchestrating these attacks, he knows at least one of them is in collusion as the amount of oil stolen could not be stored anywhere but at one of their facilities. Anna, who is more cutthroat than her husband, wants Abel to fight back using whatever tools, including like violence, to protect himself, the business and their family. As Abel tries to remain true to himself, Julian, one of his immigrant drivers who was severely beaten during one of those hijackings, may undermine all Abel has achieved thus far as Julian strove for his own piece of the American dream.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Abel Morales is a businessman who tries to do everything honestly. He has been building his business of fuel distribution to quite a big position. He now lands a deal to purchase a bay-front storage facility that will increase the business greatly. But this deal has a risky clause which states that if Abel fails to pay the rest of the due payment, the facility and the deposit will be gone. His trucks have been targeted by robbers from the last few months, which scared his drivers. He even gets an intimidation visit by burglars. Additionally, the DA wants to charges the business with felony counts. His wife suddenly reveals a gun she purchases for her protection, of which he strongly disagrees. Despite his disapproval, Abels drivers arm themselves with guns but lack the permit for them. When another heist occurs and one of his driver fires shots, Abel has to go himself and find the missing driver to turn him to the police. The driver Julian is found, but he ran away when hes about to be turned in. Abel goes every where to get loans as the closure time nears.

    From one of his competitors the Lefkowicz, Abel gets a deal for 500 thousand dollars or the 1.5 millions he needs. The facility owner grants him an extra three day time, in which he uses to see his brother to ask him to mortgage his apartment to help Abel. He also convenes all his other surrounding competitors saying that he knows at least one of them is in league with his trucks hijackers. On his way home he accidentally finds one of his trucks being hijacked. He follows the truck through a chase. After capturing the robber he finds that one of his competitors has been buying the stolen fuel. When the money needed is only 600 thousand more, he runs out of time. But his wife suddenly pulls out a bank account with enough cash in it. To his surprise, his wife has been skimming money from the company all this time. Finally he decides to use the money and completes the deal. Julian comes to the facility; angry thinking that he gets nothing while Abel gets everything. Abel convinces him theres a second chance, but he commit suicide then and there. Abel then asks for a deal with the visiting DA for his business.

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