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Monday, December 1, 2014

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR


By D.E.Levine

In 1981 New York City was having a rough time economically and with crime.  Abel Morales (Oscar Issac) has a heating oil business and he's having financial problems.  Having come from a racketeering background, married a gangster's daughter and done his best to go straight and run an honest business.

Donning a blond wig and smoking cigarettes, Anna (Jessica Chastain) whose father used to own the company, wonders whether her husband Abel is capable of growing the business, keeping them solvent, and protecting her and their three young daughters.  Anna arms herself and is willing to resort to violence.

Abel's trucks are hijacked, his salesmen are beaten up and one of his drivers is in danger.  As a tenacious assistant district attorney (David Oyelowo) prepares indictments, Abel's attorney (Albert Brooks) worries.  Despite everything, Abel believes that he can conduct business in an honest, reasonable way.

Set against the gray skys of a bleak city, with a rather anxious musical score that adds to the intense feelings provoked by the film, A Most Violent Year explores the relationship between Abel and Anna as well as the hubris and greed that tempt and threaten an honorable man who tries to stay true to his values.