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View Full Version : A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor)



Ezee E
01-21-2015, 07:30 AM
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IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2937898/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)

TGM
01-28-2015, 07:38 AM
A Most Boring Year is more like it. Good grief...

number8
02-02-2015, 06:06 PM
Man, I love that deer scene. The subtext is blatantly obvious, but it's played beautifully.

This was so great. I find it interesting that all three of Chandor's films so far are all about the drama within highly specified margins. On a macro level they're about hubris, but functionally they pick a very specific situation and try to say bigger things while never having the characters venture beyond their place. Super impressive.

Qrazy
02-03-2015, 03:18 AM
I can't stand deer/car scenes anymore at this point. It's such an overused trope. I kind of feel like that about this film more generally. He takes a bunch of old 70's cliches and then puts a slightly different spin on them but it just isn't enough. The lead character has such a lame arc here. Going from good to slightly less good does not hold my interest.

number8
02-03-2015, 03:56 PM
The lead character has such a lame arc here. Going from good to slightly less good does not hold my interest.

That's exactly what I loved about it. He never fully crosses over, which would be the predictable thing, despite the near-oppressive foreshadowing throughout the film with all the radio broadcasts. It's a collection of shady people who believably would do what they do in the film, but really not much more than that.

I love how the one gunman chastises his victim for shooting back. "Jesus Christ, man, there are people back here!"

Irish
02-03-2015, 05:43 PM
The lead character has such a lame arc here. Going from good to slightly less good does not hold my interest.

Normally I'd agree ... But I felt the film worked hard to make a larger point. No matter what you choose, or how you wanna be, the world is going to define you.

All tension comes from that. And this entire movie has its teeth on edge. This guy wants to be better than he is, but he can't. Even though he's the boss/ husband/ alpha male and everybody defers to him on the surface .... Every single person around him undermines the hell out of him in nearly every scene. The kicker for me was the wife, at the end, when she admits that she's got extra money. That whole setup was deliciously underplayed and nasty as hell.

Favorite review: Big Boy Faraci, who complained loudly that the film wasn't violent and didn't take place over the course of a year. whoosh

Ezee E
02-04-2015, 04:29 AM
I was pretty glad that he didn't succumb to the crossover. He didn't change as a person. Which was the better choice in the end, I guess.

I really never knew what direction the movie would go in. That's what kept me intrigued because I thought anything could happen at any given moment.

Qrazy
02-04-2015, 07:02 AM
I was pretty glad that he didn't succumb to the crossover. He didn't change as a person. Which was the better choice in the end, I guess.

I really never knew what direction the movie would go in. That's what kept me intrigued because I thought anything could happen at any given moment.

Yes he did. He doesn't really care about the person/people he had/has working for him, he/they are just a means to an end. He also takes his wife's dirty money and briefly tortures a guy. He deludes himself into believing he's a good person when he's more interested in stopping up the hole in his oil tank than having a genuine human moment.

I guess for me on a scene to scene basis it was just tedious to listen to him pontificate about doing the right thing. Some of the set pieces were okay I suppose. I liked it the least of Chandor's three films to date.

Qrazy
02-04-2015, 07:06 AM
Normally I'd agree ... But I felt the film worked hard to make a larger point. No matter what you choose, or how you wanna be, the world is going to define you.

All tension comes from that. And this entire movie has its teeth on edge. This guy wants to be better than he is, but he can't. Even though he's the boss/ husband/ alpha male and everybody defers to him on the surface .... Every single person around him undermines the hell out of him in nearly every scene. The kicker for me was the wife, at the end, when she admits that she's got extra money. That whole setup was deliciously underplayed and nasty as hell.

Favorite review: Big Boy Faraci, who complained loudly that the film wasn't violent and didn't take place over the course of a year. whoosh

Is it the hardness of the world defining him or his own ambition? I would have liked something beyond the Albert Brooks conversation to clarify where his drive came from. It's innate doesn't cut it for me. Also I found it disappointing that each of the primary problems in his life were disconnected from one another. I was aching for an overarching mystery although I realize that's not a criticism of what the film is so much as where I wanted it to go with it's plot threads.

number8
02-04-2015, 05:01 PM
Grantland's review raises the one point that i didn't see any other review mention: that the movie is about American assimilation. Abel is trying to conform to a white American standard (the name of his company, which he took over from his white father-in-law, is a not-so-subtle announcement of this). That's where his drive came from. He insists on speaking English with Julian, he obscures his accent, he married a white girl, and the real reason he keeps rejecting Julian's request to become a salesman seems to be the fact that he's too ethnic. All of Abel's salespeople are white, who he teaches to "go for the fancy option" to evoke class. A guy like Julian with his hispanic accent would not be seen as classy. Abel's reluctant to say this outright, though, which is why he didn't answer Albert Brook's question of why he's doing all this. But it should be clear why. He's building a place in America through hard work, and of course his established all-white competitors don't like that. I believe South Park summed it up with "he took er jerbs."

Qrazy
02-05-2015, 12:44 AM
Grantland's review raises the one point that i didn't see any other review mention: that the movie is about American assimilation. Abel is trying to conform to a white American standard (the name of his company, which he took over from his white father-in-law, is a not-so-subtle announcement of this). That's where his drive came from. He insists on speaking English with Julian, he obscures his accent, he married a white girl, and the real reason he keeps rejecting Julian's request to become a salesman seems to be the fact that he's too ethnic. All of Abel's salespeople are white, who he teaches to "go for the fancy option" to evoke class. A guy like Julian with his hispanic accent would not be seen as classy. Abel's reluctant to say this outright, though, which is why he didn't answer Albert Brook's question of why he's doing all this. But it should be clear why. He's building a place in America through hard work, and of course his established all-white competitors don't like that. I believe South Park summed it up with "he took er jerbs."

That's fine and there are some interesting points there but it doesn't really answer why he has this drive in the first place. He's bought into the American dream hook line and sinker. Why? You're saying it's because he is pushing back against the discrimination he faces but that clarifies why he's fighting to keep what he has not why he wants to endlessly expand his business. My impression as to why he didn't answer Brooks is because he doesn't understand the question. To him monetary ambition is simply part of what it means to be a man. But what was his upbringing like? What's his family like? One of the reasons The Godfather works so well is we see the forces that pull on Michael throughout his life... his brothers, his father, etc. Michael's descent is tragic because it's initially motivated by love for his family.

Here on the other hand we have this straight arrow guy who's past is only addressed in a cursory manner. He then insists on the righteousness of his cause for 2.5 hours. I didn't come away feeling I knew much about the character. It's too hung up on the minutiae of his particular business problems during this difficult year.

On another note I got so annoyed when his employee ran away the second time and the cops couldn't catch him. That scene rang extremely false to me. Also both there and at the end Oscar Isaac shuts his eyes and sort of winces obnoxiously. Bleh.

DavidSeven
02-24-2015, 06:11 PM
I thought this was a little tedious. A shame, because the design and performances are so well executed. This is my first Chandor, and it's clear that he has an eye. However, this film seems like its set up to be more than pure allegory, but doesn't end up delivering much more than that. The superficially dry subject matter comes across exactly that way, because Chandor doesn't help us engage it. The performances, though excellent, are kind of wasted on characters who only slightly resemble human beings while they serve their primary purpose as metaphor vessels. For example, is there any doubt that Julian serves as little more than a plot contrivance here? I have to chalk this one up as unfulfilled potential. Isaac, Chastain, and this production design could have been something special.

Grouchy
07-27-2015, 05:19 PM
Eh, there's plenty to admire here, that's why I gave it a marginal "Yay" but it's also a film that requires a lot of patience and offers very little dramatic pay-off. There's very little that's engrossing about the main character even if the world he inhabits is pretty craftily made. In fact, he came across as a better acted version of Vaughn's character in True Detective, also struggling with not being a "real gangster".

I agree with Qrazy that the deer scene is an insufferable cliché at this point and that the second escape from the guy was a poorly written moment. Both those things annoyed me as they played out.