J.C. Chandor's fondness for situational irony is empowered by the spartan efficiency of his method, and that of most of his performers.
Stream A Most Violent Year
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s a nocturnal fantasy, seductive and ablaze with threat.
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).
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.
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.