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Most Violent Year, A (15)

Action, Crime, Drama

In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city's history.

The critical consensus

This is an intelligent and probing drama but one that lacks the oomph factor you might expect in a real Oscar contender.

***(*)(*)Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent, 07/11/2014

JC Chandor’s period crime drama is rigorous, resourceful and as smart as a whip.

****(*)Xan Brooks, The Guardian, 07/11/2014

A Most Violent Year may lack originality but there are fine performances throughout, especially from Isaac.

****(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 18/01/2015

Chandor scores a CV hat-trick with another expertly controlled drama. A sombre crimer that resists easy thrills, investing instead in grit, intelligence and complex characterisation.

***(*)(*)Matt Glasby, Total Film, 19/01/2015

Stylish, sophisticated, simmering crime and character drama with Shakespearean dimension and bravura performances. Who knew heating oil could be a sexy subject?

****(*)Angie Errigo, Empire Online, 19/01/2015

Dirty dealings abound in A Most Violent Year, nevertheless Chandor keeps it classy.

****(*)Emma Simmonds, The List, 19/01/2015

In JC Chandor’s intense, 80s-set drama, an ambitious wheeler-dealer on New York’s perilous waterfront tries to detoxify his business.

****(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 22/01/2015

Atmospheric, measured and strangely disaffecting.

***(*)(*)Adam Woodward, Little White Lies, 22/01/2015

A slow-burn it may be, but this is vital, engaging cinema from a young filmmaker with an uncommon clarity of vision and considerable talent who is now three for three after the excellent Margin Call and All Is Lost.

****(*)Chris Fyvie, The Skinny, 23/01/2015

There is something almost Shakespearean about this brooding, thoughtful account of one man’s bid to defy the sea of troubles threatening to engulf him.

****(*)Allan Hunter, Daily Express, 23/01/2015

A Most Violent Year pays tribute to movies past in its look, tone and action, but Chandor’s perspective keeps it fresh by treating Abel’s story almost as a spiritual prequel to his brilliant financial crisis thriller Margin Call.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 24/01/2015

It doesn’t have anything especially surprising to say, and the plot never quite cranks into high gear, but it’s an absorbing and finely acted character study and illuminating period piece.

****(*)Henry Fitzherbert, Sunday Express, 25/01/2015

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac are quietly engrossing in an edgy crime thriller.

****(*)Mark Kermode, The Observer, 25/01/2015

Features about Most Violent Year, A (15)

JC Chandor on A Most Violent Year: 'There's more villainy than some people would like to admit'

Xan Brooks, The Guardian, 15/01/2015

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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