Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Most Violent Year


This is a nice little movie, but I have to make an objection right up front. I think the title is wildly inappropriate. Maybe it’s just me, I’ll admit that, but with a title like that it ought to be just a little bit violent, is that too much to ask? Okay, maybe that was the whole idea, to sucker us into waiting and waiting an waiting for the violent stuff to happen.

I guess it’s a bit of a spoiler to say that it never happens. Oscar Isaac is a mid-sized businessman with a fleet of trucks that deliver fuel oil. He’s making his way up to compete with the big boys in the Big Apple. But someone is hijacking his trucks and beating up his drivers. His livelihood is in danger, and the pressures of all kinds keep escalating. I kept wondering when he was going to do something about it other than run around like crazy trying to plug all the leaks in his endangered business plan. Something like breaking a few heads to find out who is behind all this shit.

The thing is, his father was mobbed up, and his wife, Jessica Chastain, is the daughter of a mob boss. In a bit of a role reversal, where you usually see a wife pleading with her husband not to put himself in danger as he stoically says “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do,” she wants him to get out there and protect his family. If he won’t, she’ll ask for daddy’s help. But Oscar shows an amazing amount of courage by never stooping to the tactics of his enemies … and, this being the real world, ends up moderately mobbed up in spite of it all. But at least he didn’t kill anyone. I guess that counts for something. Anyway, fair warning: Don’t see this expecting Charles Bronson in Death Wish.