Most Violent Year, A

Featured In Issue 196, April/May 2015

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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J.C. Chandor
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A Most Violent Year follows a determined immigrant entrepreneur struggling to stay on the right side of the law while building an industrial empire. This gritty story of crime and corruption in 1989’s New York City is about Abel Morales (Issac), who owns a lucrative oil-delivery service. On the eve of a huge business deal, he is snared in a web of danger and deceit. Beset by rivals who want his business and a D.A. who wants to take him down, Abel is driven to desperate measures to save his company and protect his family. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Writer/Director J.C. Chandor and Producers Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb, three featurettes: Behind The Violence (HD 44:00), A Conversation With Jessica Chastain And Oscar Issac (HD 12:50), and The Contagious Nature Of Violence: The Origins Of A Most Violent Year (HD 03:10); five deleted scenes (HD 07:44); Inner City outtakes (HD 01:20); We Can Cure Violence public service announcement; the theatrical trailer; a teaser trailer; upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture exhibits a gritty raw appearance yet is naturally realistic. While photographed with the Arri Alexa digital camera system, the imagery appears cinematic, complete with what appears to be a slight grain structure and defocused backgrounds. The color palette is nicely balanced with just the right amount of saturation. Hues are warm and rich with accurate fleshtones. Contrast is decent, and while shadow delineation is also decent, blacks lack the deep, solid quality that enhances contrast. Resolution is good but a bit softly focused. This is a good-looking picture with an aged visual feel. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is nicely produced with an orchestral score that enhances the serious dramatic quality The music is widely positioned and fully surround enveloping. The end credits’ song is unusually positioned in the soundfield and worth the listen. While largely dialogue focused, atmospherics and sound effects, such as nuances of interior and exterior environments and gunfire, trucks, and trains, are realistic sounding. The effects are at times enhanced with .1 LFE energy. Other than the music, the surrounds are subdued. Dialogue sounds perfectly natural and is well integrated spatially, This is an effective soundtrack that enhances the serious mood of the storytelling. (Gary Reber)