Taglines: The result is never in question, just the path you take to get there.
A crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city’s history, and centered on a the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.
Set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city’s history, and centered on a the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.
A Most Violent Year is a crime drama film written and directed by J. C. Chandor. The film stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain with Alessandro Nivola, David Oyelowo, Albert Brooks, and Catalina Sandino Moreno. It had its world premiere as the opening film of the AFI Fest on November 6, 2014, and was released theatrically on December 31, 2014.
About the Story
1981 is considered to be one of the most violent years in New York’s history. Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is the owner of Standard Oil, an up-and-coming heating oil company. The company has been plagued by the hijacking of several trucks, each carrying thousands of dollars in heating oil. One young driver, Julian (Elyes Gabel), is severely beaten when his oil truck is hijacked by two unknown assailants. Abel’s wife, Anna Morales (Jessica Chastain), beseeches Abel to fight violence with violence, but Abel refuses. Morales and his company are under investigation by Assistant District Attorney Lawrence (David Oyelowo), who seems determined to expose price fixing, tax evasion, and various other illegalities committed by Morales and his competitors within the heating oil business.
As a way to secure financial independence for himself and trump his competitors, Abel, with the help of his attorney, Andrew Walsh (Albert Brooks), brokers a deal with a group of Jewish Chassidim, led by Josef Mendellsohn (Jerry Adler), to purchase a fuel oil terminal on the East River. This will allow Morales’ company to directly import fuel oil from barges and to store far more oil in the summertime when fuel oil prices are lower. He places a large downpayment of 40% on the property with the agreement that he will close in 30 days—if he fails to do so, the Chassidim will sell the terminal to one of Morales’ competitors and keep the downpayment.
After moving into a new home, Morales prevents what appears to be an attempted burglary, but the next day one of his daughters finds a loaded handgun dropped in the bushes by the perpetrator. Suspecting this intimidation is coming from his competitors, he begins to confront them one by one; each one denies any intimidation and theft to drive him out of business.
The head of the Teamsters encourages Morales to arm his drivers with handguns and fake permits that he can secure for him. Morales refuses, believing that such a move could bring down even more heat on his operation from the authorities and potentially ruin his legitimate business connections with a bank financing his business.
Returning to work after weeks of rehabilitation, Julian is again accosted by criminals, this time on the Queensboro Bridge in broad daylight. Carrying a firearm without Abel’s knowledge or permission, he engages in a shootout with the hijackers, which results in the police arriving and chasing Julian and the other assailants, who all escape. This incident once again shifts Morales and his company into the spotlight of not only ADA Lawrence, but also the bank, which informs him that due to the impending criminal indictments and this unfortunate public incident, it can no longer finance his purchase of the terminal.
A Most Violent Year
Directed by: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, Albert Brooks, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ashley Williams, Annie Funke, Elizabeth Marvel
Screenplay by: J.C. Chandor
Production Design by: John P. Goldsmith
Cinematography byB Bradford Young
Film Editing by: Ron Patane
Costume Design by: Kasia Walicka-Maimone
Set Decoration by: Melanie J. Baker
Art Direction by: Doug Huszti
Music by: Alex Ebert
MPAA Rating: R for language and some violence.
Studio: A24 Films
Release Date: January 1, 2015