A Most Violent Year

(USA 2014)

Not gratuitously violent as the title might imply. A Most Violent Year is not entirely what I expected, but I liked it. Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), a gangster who’s not a gangster, runs a “clean” operation selling gas. Someone’s got it in for him, though, and a mystery unfolds slowly and deliberately with a few nail biting turns.

It’s a film that makes one think, and I left trying to define “clean.” A Most Violent Year did an outstanding job capturing without going overboard the look and feel of the really early still-70s 80s– before big hair, funky sunglasses, and shoulder pads. Props to Jessica Chastain, who played Morales’s wife with dead-on Jersey mob daughter fabulousness.

(AMC River East) B+


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