Qt3 Movie Podcast: A Most Violent Year

Title Qt3 Movie Podcast: A Most Violent Year
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Movie podcasts
When January 11, 2015

We kick off 2015 with JC Chandor's anti-crime thriller..

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This weeks Mini Pini Move Clubapalooza pick is House of Games. Jump to the 00:52:31 mark to listen to the discussion.

Dingus you rock! The Kinks!!!

How can I send in a suggestion for IMDB synopsis?

You can email us at the address where folks send in Mini Movie Club reviews (and where they will send in 3x3 suggestions when Tom gets back): [email protected] or you can tweet me @dingus_X. Either way I'll pass along your suggestion to Kelly Wand.

Thanks Bernsington!

Christien, thanks so much for your thoughts on A Most Violent Year. I loved this movie. As a kid who grew up in and around NYC in the 70's and 80's, the scene, the subway, the pervasive crime, was all a part of my youth and Chandor captured it well.

I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of the 'most violent year' in the city, and Abel Morales' refusal to surrender to it.

I really loved this movie. I don't think if you pitched me a movie about heating oil sales in 1981 NYC I would have the slightest interest, but then, I wouldn't have given much attention to Margin Call or All is Lost's subject matter either and the magic ingredient appears to be J.C. Chandor. Eagerly awaiting whatever he does next.

In general I was really happy about the way Abel clearly feels each blow and setback, but he never does what you might expect from the main character of a movie like this. He doesn't rage. He doesn't resort to violence. But he also doesn't fold. He doesn't back down. And he doesn't give up. He internalizes the situation and he goes where he needs to go. (Well, he does rage a couple of times, but two of those times are with his wife who he clearly loves and trusts very much and who has wounded him in a very real way with those decisions, and the third is when he pistolwhips the hijacker and even then he's more restrained than you might expect given the circumstances.) I was, for example, expecting him to get mad when he goes to his competitor, tells them he needs 1.5 million and they offer him only 500k and pretty aggressive terms on that. But no, he smiles, thanks them, and takes the deal, then goes to find the other million.

I also appreciated the near total lack of exposition. We just follow along and gradually understand what's going on. I was definitely thinking we were witnessing illicit dealings early on, since briefcases full of cash are a touch unusual in business dealings of the legitimate variety, and it took quite a while to understand what that deal was for and what finalizing it entailed (I was thinking some sort of favor, but no, he just needed to secure the rest of the money). And I wasn't sure originally how Chastain was involved with Isaacs. Etc. But I really enjoyed piecing all that together myself. I may still have missed things - like you guys referred to Julian as Abel's cousin. Was that established? I could certainly see it, but I was assuming he was just a young employee of a similar ethnicity and background and Abel was the kind of guy who would be there for any of his employees that were similarly injured.

Speaking of which, I thought it was really interesting that in that last scene with Julian, Abel does try to convince him that he still has a future and should make choices with that in mind, but when Julian asks him to take care of his family (I believe we did see kids in Julian's dwelling), you can tell Abel understands what's coming and yet he doesn't really make an attempt to interfere or talk him out of it the way you usually see in similar scenes. He just promises and braces himself.

Two other observations: One - I think the most repeated words in the movie are "I know." and "I'm sorry.". And it's funny because neither one, ultimately, makes any difference. Sure, they know. But that doesn't change anything. And sure, they're sorry. But that mitigates nothing.

And two: man, Oscar Isaacs is a hell of a chameleon. I first became aware of him in Inside Llewyn Davis, as I suspect many people did, but apparently I'd already seen him in Drive, and Robin Hood (and somewhere in there, Bourne Legacy) and I never would have made that connection. I knew going into Ex Machina and A Most Violent Year that he was a big piece of both movies, but...I mean, I can sort of see it but clean-shaven Abel looks enormously different than bushy-bearded Nathan looks enormously different from scruffy worn-down Llewyn Davis looks so different than Standard.