Thursday, August 10, 2017

Delayed Reaction: A Most Violent Year

The Pitch: Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain bring the sex appeal back to heating oil sales.

This is an oddly specific movie. I can safely say that I never considered what the underbelly of the heating oil business was like in the early 1980s. It's interesting that JC Chandor set the movie then, because this reminded me a lot of the crime movies of the 70s in tone and style. It's a tense movie that keeps everything at a low boil the entire time. I kept waiting for everything to explode or fall apart for Isaac and Chastain and it never does. To its credit, that was a smart move. This isn't a big movie like that. I didn't realize how strong the cast was before I started. I knew about Isaac and Chastain. I wasn't aware of David Oyelowo* or Albert Brooks. Elyes Gabel and Ashley Williams weren't draws per se, but I like seeing either of them show up in anything. Oh, and Chris Abbott, from Girls. I spent far too much of the movie trying to figure out what I knew him from and refusing to check IMDB.

*To be fair, I didn't really know him until I saw Selma a year later.

While Oscar Isaac is the lead of the movie and a very good lead, Jessica Chastain leads the two most memorable scenes. The first is when they hit the deer. That surprised me twice: when they hit it and when she shot it. I didn't see either coming. The other scene is when she reveals that she's been skimming from the company the whole time in case they ever needed it to get out of trouble. I loved that. I laughed very sardonically at it. It doesn't matter how hard he tries to clean. Isaac has to get dirty to get ahead in life.

Verdict: Weakly Recommend

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