Statistically, 1981 was one of the most violent years in New York City's history. It's a grim reality that has somehow eluded Abel Morales, the head of a mid-level heating oil company. He's come from nothing and is proud not only of his success, but that he achieved it through honest means. He's about to close a deal that will place his company amongst the industry's elite when the company experiences a series of reversals: truck drivers are carjacked, thousands of dollars in gas are stolen, and the government issues fraud charges. The tumultuous climate puts the deal in doubt and clearly implicates his rivals. Nefarious solutions are offered-arming his truck drivers, bribing officials-but Morales resolves to fight a clean fight.
This is the third feature for writer/director J.C. Chandor, whose Margin Call remains one of the more impressive debuts in recent film history. With A Most Violent Year, his understanding of genre and tone creates a promising tableau for a classic crime film, but his storytelling feels muted, presen...
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