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|Originaltitel:||A Most Violent Year|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 125 min.|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
New York in 1981: The crime rate has reached its peak. In some parts of the city the police seems to have completely given up trying to ensure law and order. Although organized crime seems to have the upper hand in many areas, the immigrant businessman Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) wants to try to legally build up a successful business together with his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain). In order to be able to expand with his heating oil company, Abel has secured the option of an abandoned industrial site for a lot of money. Now he has very little time to find the rest for the purchase. His good reputation seems to open important doors for him. But then his vans are repeatedly attacked on the open road and valuable fuel oil is stolen. The union is putting pressure on Abel to arm his drivers, which he categorically rejects. He cannot expect any help from the Deputy District Attorney Lawrence (David Oyelowo) in this matter either - on the contrary: Abel has to learn that Lawrence is seeking a lawsuit against his company. The air becomes thinner and thinner for Abel and when one of his drivers reaches for his weapon again, the situation threatens to escalate once and for all. Will Abel really be able to reach his goal legally?
In his third directorial work "A Most Violent Year" filmmaker J.C. Chandor ("The Great Crash", "All is Lost") takes the audience into a particularly gloomy time in the metropolis of New York. It is a time when crime, drugs and corruption dominate the cityscape in many places. But if you expect a solid thriller on this subject, you might be disappointed in the end. There are indeed rapid car chases and a dramatic showdown. But first and foremost Chandor stays true to the style of his previous movies and lets quiet moments dominate the action. This makes the movie seem a bit tenacious at first glance in some scenes. But it pays to get involved with Chandor's seemingly unagitated narrative style. Because the calm appearance is deceptive.
The director succeeds in creating an extremely oppressive and tense atmosphere with these means, which makes the viewer feel the almost hopeless downward spiral into which Abel is unintentionally drawn. One wishes him to remain on the right path, but at the same time feels how hopeless this wish is. The fact that the various circumstances that make him question his ideals are all not his own fault lends the story tragic traits.
The first-class screenplay is transported onto the screen by a well-chosen cast. Especially Oscar Isaac and David Oyelowo ("Selma") deliver more than convincing performances. In addition to the story, the actors and the atmospheric music, however, it is especially the New York setting that is responsible for the drama's captivating atmosphere. Chandor and his team have brought the New York of the early 80s back to life with authentic equipment and excellent camera work. Yet it's the small details that underpin this impression.
"A Most Violent Year" may not be a suspense movie in the classical sense, but it's a really gripping thriller drama for lovers of more sophisticated entertainment fare. J.C. Chandor draws a stirring portrait of a man who, against all odds, tries to hold on to his ideals of righteousness and honesty. Even though the film takes place in the 1980s, its message is more relevant than ever in times of financial and socio-political crises. The good actors and the atmospheric imagery also make sure that the bottom line is a clear "Absolutely worth seeing"!
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