Saturday, May 23, 2015

Film Review - A Most Violent Year (2015)

A Most Violent Year is written and directed by JC Chandor and stars Oscar Isaac as Abel, the head of a small company in New York City in 1981 (said to be the most violent year in that city's history) that deals in fuel but his trucks are being harassed while out on the job which concerns his wife (Jessica Chastain) and has the DA (David Oyelowo) breathing down his neck.

A Most Violent Year may very well be one of if not my favourite film so far in 2015 its seriously worth that consideration as I really loved the slow tense gas cooker Chandor lets play out in his film and his script, the violence scenes here have a real impact to them in a way we don't see in mainstream American films anymore (can't have blood or strong impact otherwise we don't that magical PG-13 rating and all of those paying families with their rivers of gold don't come through the doors.) plus there are moments where you can really feel the tension seeping through the frame.

But my praise doesn't end there it begins with the performances, Isaac and Chastain are incredible here, Isaac is seriously shaping up to be one of the best actors of his generation and watching him here I was reminded of the kind of performance I'd see from someone like Elliot Gould who was a 70s character actor or even John Turturro before he exposed all those young kids to his manparts in his Transformers movies.

And Chastain strongly returns to form after being so criminally wasted in Chris Nolan's Interstellar last year and my swoon meter went into overdrive as she is also super sexy here in her costumes and her chemistry with Isaac (who by the way she studied with at Juiliard and has been friends with for years) is just amazing, it feels so real and natural and you just totally buy them as a pair.

But they're not the only good ones, Oyelowo is a nice foil for Isaac here despite only having a small role while Albert Brooks (best known as Dr Brad Goodman and Hank Scorpio from the Simpsons) was someone I liked seeing again despite playing a straight laced role this time around.

But my praise also has to extend to John Goldsmith's sets, Bradford Young's cinematography and Ron Patane's editing, both the sets and the cinematography really give you a lived in feel of the interior scenes (the lighting is gorgeous) and Patane's editing reminds you of the films of the 70s and early 80s with their long takes and uncut editing that allows you to soak it in like a sponge but I also have to mention the costumes by Kasia Walicka-Maimone as the outfits she has Chastain's character in are gorgeous not to mention the various coats the characters wear throughout the film.

And so that was A Most Violent Year which could be my favourite film of 2015 so far, oh how I miss these sort of films for grownups but sadly the rise of the superhero cinematic universe has all but destroyed them in the mainstream market and they've now been relegated to the independent and arthouse markets which is a very very sad shame, 4 and a half out of 5.

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