The concept of the American dream gets put under the spotlight next with J.C Chandor's eagerly awaited follow up to his Oscar nominated film last year, All is Lost, starring Robert Redford. This time he has the cast of current times in Oscar Isaac who seems to be in the cinema each week solidifying him as already one of the most popular A-list actors around and nonetheless Star Wars: The Force Awakens will eventually make him a household name. Jessica Chastain who, for me, can do no wrong, is one of those quality actresses around and of course David Oleyewo who is currently receiving critical acclaim as Martin Luther King in The Oscar nominated Selma make this film brim with a tantalising cast.
The film is one of the most original stories about power, ambition and human tenacity seen for a long time. Isaac gives an excellent portrayal of a man under constant pressure from all angles; to provide for his family, his self respect and genuinely trying his best to uphold the ideals of what he sees as the American dream. All the while he is constantly internalising his emotions to maintain restraint under duress showing a masterful and quality performance.
Remembering the quote, "The result is never in question, just the path you take to get there," Chastain takes on a Lady Macbeth syndrome and brings it to another level of acting which was mesmerising to watch. In each scene, she was a real triumph; often acting as both angel and devil on Isaac's shoulders depending on the motivation.
Finally, Chandor’s direction is very much a homage to The Godfather - using very dark lighting which adds to the charm of the cinematography. The darker the atmosphere, the more stylish the film is. That being said, do not expect a gangster film as the “violence” in the title may sadly fool the audience if they yearn for that particular type of movie. Expect a film with very toned violence and succumb to the tragic drama of a couple striving for power and facing many obstacles.
Want to Read More?
Read all about our love for Oscar Isaac
Or see our review on David Oweyolo's performance in Selma
A Most Violent Year is out now!