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A Most Violent Year

Action . Thriller . Crime . Drama

A thriller 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 a 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.

Actors: Oscar Isaac , Jessica Chastain , Albert Brooks , Elyes Gabel , David Oyelowo , Alessandro Nivola , Catalina Sandino Moreno , Peter Gerety , Ashley Williams , John Procaccino , Lorna Pruce
Directors: J.C. Chandor
Release: 2015-01-30
More Info:
  • Richard Roeper

    Nearly every scene in A Most Violent Year is pitch perfect. Chandor the writer comes across as a big fan of David Mamet’s, and Chandor the director invokes stylistic touches reminiscent of Sidney Lumet, among others, but Chandor is no cover artist.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    As a great New York story, it’s also a great American story about ambition and failure, about the kind of people who make it, the kinds who don’t, and all the things that can go wrong.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    A vibrant crime story filled to overflowing with crackling situations, taut dialogue and a heightened, even operatic sense of reality, A Most Violent Year captures us and doesn't let go.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    J. C. Chandor, the writer and director of this pulpy, meaty, altogether terrific new film, and Bradford Young, its supremely talented director of photography, succeed in giving this beat-up version of the city both historical credibility and expressive power.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Chandor (“All is Lost”) has made a movie that quietly but ferociously immerses us in a time and place, with atmosphere done in minimal yet evocative strokes.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • James Rocchi

    A Most Violent Year asks you to watch and listen and pay close attention; it also rewards that investment with subtle, real pleasures and provocations. Set in that messy place where crime, business, law and politics intersect — which is to say, the real world — A Most Violent Year is a slow-burn drama about what kinds of compromises you'll make in order to tell yourself you haven't compromised.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    J. C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year is a powerfully told story, a thrilling surprise, and both Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain do remarkable work.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    A Most Violent Year isn't an explosive film. It builds slowly, simmering toward an inevitable day of reckoning. It's the kind of uncompromising movie we don't see much of anymore. And it makes you nostalgic for a time when the world was worse and the movies were better.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    The pacing, the performances (Albert Brooks is a stand-out as Abel's lawyer), and every facet of the production serves the story and the film's larger ideas.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The film is slow at times, despite bursts of action, and Chandor could have let it breathe a little more. The seriousness grows stuffy every now and then, but these are small quibbles. A Most Violent Year is an outstanding movie about business and marriage, not necessarily in that order.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • David Denby

    Some of the menacing atmosphere, and even a few scenes, descend from the first two “Godfather” movies. But, in fact, Chandor has done something startling: he has made an anti-“Godfather.”

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    A tough-minded, bracingly blunt look at the sometimes debilitating cost of doing business that casts an unblinking eye on the physical, emotional and moral bottom line.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Evocatively shot by "Selma" wizard Bradford Young, A Most Violent Year reflects a world where nothing is held sacred. You watch with nerves clenched, holding on tight.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Mike D'Angelo

    There are a couple of exciting set pieces, including a superb chase sequence in which Abel pursues one of the hijackers along some train tracks, but A Most Violent Year is primarily interested in detailing the ways in which moral gray areas inevitably shade into true darkness.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    The filmmaker is ultimately better at constructing nuanced environments and troubled figures than making every piece of the equation gel as a whole. But that's a minor issue in the overall tapestry of Chandor's carefully designed world.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    Stylish, sophisticated, simmering crime and character drama with Shakespearean dimension and bravura performances. Who knew heating oil could be a sexy subject?

    Empire Full Review
  • Xan Brooks

    JC Chandor’s period crime drama is rigorous, resourceful and as smart as a whip...But its canny tactical struggle remains a joy to behold.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Robbie Collin

    it’s a nocturnal fantasy, seductive and ablaze with threat.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    A Most Violent Year, Chandor’s absorbing no-bull NYC drama, further clarifies what might be the most promising career in American movies: an urban-headed filmmaker attuned to economies of place and time, with an eye on the vacant throne of Sidney Lumet.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    In his third turn behind the camera, writer-director J.C. Chandor has delivered a tough, gritty, richly atmospheric thriller that lacks some of the formal razzle-dazzle of his solo seafaring epic, “All Is Lost,” but makes up for it with an impressively sustained low-boil tension and the skillful navigating of a complex plot (at least up until a wholly unnecessary last-minute twist).

    Variety Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    A Most Violent Year, then, is something of a science experiment, with Abel the good rat trying to make it to the other side of the maze, uneaten and in full possession of the cheese. In its weaker moments, the movie struggles to get out of the lab. At its best, it reminds us that the maze is as big as the world and as timely as today.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    If A Most Violent Year has a weakness, it’s in that structural looseness.... Still, A Most Violent Year is an engrossing, often beautiful film, and a breakout opportunity for Isaac.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    This is a film for actual moviegoing grown-ups who don't mind a little quality now and then.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    It's quite good, for what it is. But it's that "for what it is" part that proves slightly exasperating. Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    In a film with righteous outrage yet limited violent action, it takes a great performance to make us root against meeting violence with violence. Isaac and Chandor make that come off.

    Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    It’s a gangster movie that tries to be more than that, not always successfully. In his own small-scale way, Chandor wants to expand the reach of his vision to “Godfather” status, with Abel as his shining (tainted) knight.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Christopher Gray

    J.C. Chandor's fondness for situational irony is empowered by the spartan efficiency of his method, and that of most of his performers.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    It’s all just a little more boring than it ought to be. Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    Chandor’s film suggests more than it can explore, and a contrived climax makes the film seem like less than the sum of what’s preceded it.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    A Most Violent Year is a small picture, but each brushstroke is laden with detail and craftsmanship.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    A most curious movie, one with nearly all the elements of a classic crime-family saga and yet somehow lacking the moral complexity and emotional heft of the films to which it pays fastidious aesthetic homage: the New York–set urban thrillers of Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Prince of the City) and Coppola’s Godfather series.

    Slate Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    I like — as always — what Chandor attempts: not just to denounce capitalism but to explain in detail how people go wrong. But the overcomposed, sedate A Most Violent Year lacks the one thing it most needs: violence.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Grand in its aims but tepid in its conclusions, A Most Violent Year burns slow and gives off very little heat. It's not really that violent. But it sure feels like a year.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Calvin Wilson

    A far more interesting film than its title implies. And a film you’ve never seen before.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    A Most Violent Year is its own thing, hypnotic and exacting and as subtly savage as mellow-voiced Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler),” which opens the film and sets the tone. I was fully in thrall to it all.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    A Most Violent Year has its share of wham-bam moments — a car-truck-foot chase into the city's bowels is superb — but the action never speaks louder than Chandor's hard-boiled words.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Ben Nicholson

    Although A Most Violent Year may hit fever pitch when Abel engages in a nerve-wracking chase of a stolen tanker, it's in the murky uncertainties and frosty climate that it endures and excels.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Abel is a man with ideals in a world that has no use for them: If he’s going to succeed, he’s going to have to use his wits instead of bullets, and although the odds against him are formidable, watching his struggle is riveting entertainment.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Gritty, suspenseful and almost poetic in its depiction of an unforgiving town, A Most Violent Year is just shy of being great.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    This isn't a revolutionary or thematically rich motion picture, but it's a well-told story featuring solid performances and a nice sense of atmosphere.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Like that camel-hair coat Abel wears, A Most Violent Year is classy and commands respect, but a stronger pulse under the lapels would make us care much more.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    A Most Violent Year harks back to the cinema tradition of the 1970s, with its deliberate pace, its simmering tension, its gritty cynicism and its central moral dilemma. At the same time, it has something to say about the way business is done in 2015.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Matt Glasby

    A sombre crimer that resists easy thrills, investing instead in grit, intelligence and complex characterisation.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    The story’s unbelievable, end to end.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
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