You know, we’ve been in ‘anti-hero’ mode for so long, it was really nice to see an old-fashioned New York pic like ‘A Most Violent Year’ show up.

The National Board of Review’s Best Film of 2014 (somehow shut out of the Oscars) stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as a young couple carving out their version of the American Dream in 1980s Gotham.  The cinematography (get em Bradford Young!) is stellar, at times this film is reminds you of Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, or any of those great early Pacino flicks.

The essential story here is the classic immigrant story: a young man has built a nice, small business for himself, and is ready to take it to the next level.  Of course, true power is never just given, and the status quo is ‘the status quo’ for a reason, so…things get messy.  But don’t let the title give you the wrong idea.  There’s some bloodshed but not as much as you might expect.  Violence defined as ‘extreme turbulence’?  Now we’re on the right track.

This was my favorite genre of film growing up, so I liked this one. More than the Academy anyway.