‘A Most Violent Year’ doesn’t miss a beat
The word that keeps coming to mind in relation to my thoughts on “A Most Violent Year” is exquisite. I’m primarily speaking to the elegant, yet fierce, feel of the film and the complex duo of characters within. It’s a movie that effortlessly manages to pull off something that most never can, a perfect balance of delicacy and intensity in almost every scene. That fusion is really what makes the movie great, along with the commanding performances at the center from both Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.
Taking place in the early 80s, it focuses on a young, power-hungry businessman (Isaac) struggling to protect his livelihood in any way he sees fit. We witness his many attempts to keep his oil company afloat amidst one of the most crime-ridden winters in history. But, unlike his extremely determined wife (Chastain), he doesn’t feel the need to act in a violent or aggressive way to do so. He approaches things in a calm, reserved fashion – for the most part – and tries to keep everything in his life together.
It struck me as one of those pictures that will slowly garner a huge audience and appreciation over the years, particularly because it speaks to a time and place that isn’t typically being shown in this day and age. We may have films that deal with overbearing crime in big cities, but not ones that compare in style and resonance. That’s the beauty of this film, it doesn’t hit you right off the bat as deeply as it does the weeks after you’ve seen it. It allows its audience to infer, and the more you mull it over the more you see the brilliance. It may not be for everyone, but it certainly was for me. It doesn’t miss a beat, and neither do the actors involved. “A Most Violent Year” is now playing at Tree House Cinema in Gulf Breeze.