'Most Violent Year' a study of angst, anxiety and paranoia

January 16, 2015 8:07 AM

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Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) wants to be a real American man. When we meet him, he's striving to fulfill the dreams of many immigrant Latinos, speaking his New York City English with flawless intelligence and emotional restraint, trying hard to outpace anyone he regards as a business rival to his profitable Standard Heating Oil Co., and to protect anyone he considers a colleague.

Yet the municipal offices, homes and courtrooms he visits look ominous and fateful. His beautiful wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain), who manages Standard's books, is the daughter of a Brooklyn mob kingpin. Morales' truck drivers are being hijacked, his door-to-door men beaten on sales calls. His drivers...

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