So i’m back after being away for a while, did some hard work for my own screenplay and some exciting article i’m about to write for this blog. Now that i finally have some free time let’s get back to work on the reviews from movies I recently saw. Stay tuned for many reviews in April, since it’s the month with the best line-up so far.
“A Most Violent Year” – is a crime drama about the sort of character who is a peripheral figure in most crime dramas. The protagonist, Abel is neither cop nor crook; he’s just a compromised man with problems to solve. The underside of the “American Dream” is abundantly on display in this story about an immigrant endeavoring to make his way to the top while keeping his family safe and striving to maintain his position as the head-of-the-house. Set during the winter of 1981 – statistically one of the most crime- ridden times in New York City’s history – “A Most Violent Year” follows the lives of an immigrant and his family as they attempt to capitalize on the American Dream, while the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the city drag them in threaten to destroy all they have built, and possibly even unhinge their moral compass.
There were certainly enough things that I liked about the film, but unfortunately I did not find it to be a masterpiece, or even a great film. I find it hard in a lot of ways to exactly pinpoint my exact problem with the film. The film’s lighting and cinematography was both excellent and using sparse and uninhabited backgrounds really gave the film a certain empty yet bleak feeling and I think it suited the film perfectly. The lighting was often using fluorescent lights and at times gave the film an almost haunting and depressing type of glow, which I think further added to the great look and feel of the film. I felt that all the film’s acting was spot on and very good here, from the main actors to the supporting, everyone was really good here.
So why did I have a problem with the film?
I think because generally while the film did keep my interest and offered me a lot to admire about it, there was still not quite enough of the film for me to be fully and completely satisfied. Yes, it was an extremely well done film, but I think the area where the film was lacking, was in the screenplay department. I wouldn’t say this was a huge problem of mine, but I did not like a single character in this movie and through it I had nobody to root for, or even to empathize with. All these characters are so cold, and self indulgent that I found nothing to relate to with them and just could not connect on any levels with them. I guess in their own way they were interesting enough to watch and it did hold the film, but I always do love some great character study where you can at least feel something for the characters, whether you like them, or not. And even though I did not particularly care for these characters, I still had no strong feelings for them either way, because in a lot of ways they just were not all that interesting. I have heard others say about this film and I will have to use the same line myself, that the film does take what could have been a really interesting premise, but in a lot of ways just does absolutely nothing with it, or live up to it’s potential.
The film could certainly feel a bit slow at times and by the end of the film, while I was never bored per se, I did feel a bit let down, that there was not more to this film, or to the characters. Often it felt distant and separated from me the viewer and just allowed me no ways in which I could connect, or even care about the characters, or what is going on throughout the film. It is too bad because the film technically is very well made and I think had they put a little extra work into the script, it could have been an entirely different film and overall a much better one, but as it stands it is just an average and mediocre film that I feel could have been great, but unfortunately never quite reached those goals.
A Most Violent Year gets an 6.8/10.