Both Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are two of the most exciting names working in film right now. Starring in the likes of Inside Llewyn Davis, Interstellar and Ex Machina between them and they have continued their streak of great films here with A Most Violent Year. I was able to watch this film with next to no prior knowledge about the plot, just the way I like it, this always makes for a more interesting experience.
As you could guess both Isaac and Chastain are fantastic here, these two really are at the top of their game and I am finding that it is always a pleasure to watch them on screen. The worked well together in this film and confidently delivered performances of depth and variety. There were other strong members to this cast too, most notably would be Elyes Gabel (Julian) who you will probably know best as Guppy from Casualty! He plays a really interesting character and he does so very well, showing great potential for future roles. The cast are engaging and work well with the material they are given however it has to be admitted that at times A Most Violent Year does adopt a slower pace, I was able to stick with it simply because I enjoy watching these actors so much but it could be a slight problem for others. Although when you step back from the film and look at its plot, the struggles of a family run oil company, I think that a great job is done here to make this film interesting and entertaining. This might take about half an hour but the story should get hold of you and your curiosity will make you desperate to find out the result.
A Most Violent Year has some great moments of tension and these made for some of the best scenes in the film. I do think a more dramatic score and the elongation of some scenes could have enhanced the tension further but nonetheless a solid amount is achieved here and it is very effective. I jumped several times and was on the edge of my seat for other moments, I loved the unsettled vibe to the whole film and I never felt safe for the characters. What I loved about A Most Violent Year though was how it wasn’t predictable. I thought to myself on several occasions I had spotted a twist or suspected something but I never seemed to be right, things didn’t go down quite the way I had expected them too and I am glad of that because it stands out more rather than copying what has come before it.
A Most Violent Year whilst doesn’t wholly deliver the amount of violence or action that the title maybe implies still treats its audiences to a well told story. This is a result of a solid cast led by Isaac and Chastain, a good sense of tension throughout and originality. The 125 minute running time flew by and I am already looking forward to future viewings of this movie, another stellar edition to both of these leads filmography.
BIGGEST FLAW – Tension could have been enhanced further
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Originality
Rating – 8/10