A Most Violent Year is the third film from writer/director J.C. Chandor and it may just be his best film yet. Chandor has interested me ever since I fist saw Margin Call. It was a solid character-driven movie that was just a tease of what Chandor had in stall. Then he made All Is Lost, another character-driven movie, except this time around, there was literally only one character... at sea... with a 30 page long script... and almost no dialogue. It was utterly brilliant. Now he brings us A Most Violent Year, and this time he returns to the world of multiple characters for a film that can only be described as glorious.
But at the core of the film is the relationship between Oscar Isaac and his wife, Jessica Chastain. They're not the focus story-wise, but they're where the film thrives. Their story is exciting and their actions are unpredictable. Isaac does his best to hold everything together, but he knows that when he slips, his wife is going to get her hands dirty, and that's something we know we don't want to see. She manages to show power in their relationship, subtly getting involved with everything he does, and in doing so she becomes one of the strongest female characters of 2014.
It's been a day since I saw this movie and what continues to puzzle me is how stunning this film looks. There was something about just sitting and watching A Most Violent Year on the big screen that occasionally put a smile on my face. It's big, it's sleek and, for lack of a better word, it's quite mesmerising to look at. Whether this is simply the look and feel of the film or if it was the wonderful cinematography, I don't know, but either way, I'm pleased.