A Most Violent Year (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Most Violent Year (2015)



Critic Consensus: Gritty, gripping, and weighted with thought-provoking heft, A Most Violent Year represents another strong entry in writer-director J.C. Chandor's impressive filmography.

A Most Violent Year Photos

Movie Info

Set during the winter of 1981 -- statistically one of the most crime-ridden of New York City's history -- A MOST VIOLENT YEAR is a drama following 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 day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built. (C) A24

Watch it now


Oscar Isaac
as Abel Morales
Jessica Chastain
as Anna Morales
David Oyelowo
as Lawrence
Albert Brooks
as Andrew Walsh
Alessandro Nivola
as Peter Forente
Peter Gerety
as Bill O'Leary
Christopher Abbott
as Louis Servidio
Glenn Fleshler
as Arnold Klein
David Margulies
as Saul Lefkowitz
Annie Funke
as Lorraine Lefkowitz
Matthew Maher
as John Dominczyk
Pico Alexander
as Elias Morales
Frank Bal
as Armored Guard
Susan Blackwell
as Radio Reporter
David Boston
as Competitor
Patrick Breen
as Instructor
Chris Cardona
as Driver 1
Teddy Canez
as Contractor
Teddy Coluca
as Driver 3
John Dinello
as Driver 2
Kathleen Doyle
as Lefkowitz Secretary
Giselle Eisenberg
as Catherine Morales
Jimmy Palumbo
as Jimmy O.
Lorna Pruce
as Toll Booth Clerk Powell
Jason Ralph (III)
as Ian Thompson
Jenilyn Rodriguez
as New Salewoman
Zariah Singletary
as Soccer Player
Amiyah Steed
as Soccer Girl
Daisy Tahan
as Annie Morales
John Douglas Thompson
as Radio Reporter
View All

News & Interviews for A Most Violent Year

Critic Reviews for A Most Violent Year

All Critics (224) | Top Critics (54)

In the end, a little too much rides on what we make of this couple and their partnership, and the movie, well-conceived as it is, has drawn its boundaries a little too tightly.

February 27, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

The underside of the American Dream is on display in A Most Violent Year, a drama about an immigrant trying to make his way to the top.

February 2, 2015 | Full Review…

Like that camel-hair coat Abel wears, A Most Violent Year is classy and commands respect, but a stronger pulse under the lapels would make us care much more.

January 30, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

[A] tight anti-thriller, one where the violence of the title is more implied than seen.

January 29, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

"A Most Violent Year" is a far more interesting film than its title implies. And a film you've never seen before.

January 29, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Abel is a man with ideals in a world that has no use for them: If he's going to succeed, he's going to have to use his wits instead of bullets.

January 29, 2015 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for A Most Violent Year

Unspectacular and realistic thriller drama about an early 80s entrepreneur and his attempt to stay above water within the law. The actors are top notch, although Chastain remains underused. Isaac carries the film with his performance, the plot does move a little slowly at times and there are merely a few adrenaline peaks. Still, overall satisfying and well done. Just don't expect to bite your nails in excitement or thrill.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


Excellent performances and engaging story kept me involved. Thankfully, there's more to it than violence!

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

An immigrant's business is threatened by crime just as he has over-leveraged his assets. Oddly, A Most Violent Year is one of the least violent movies I've seen in a long time, but that doesn't mean that it's not incredibly tense and compelling. Jaw-clenching Oscar Isaac and icy-staring Jessica Chastain make compelling scene partners, and this plot puts them through the ringer. The film has been favorably compared to the work of Sidney Lumet, one of American cinema's most underrated masters, and I can see why: both director J.C. Chandor and Lumet use long, slow shots, framed in shadowy backgrounds to subtly establish a pervasively sinister mood. Anything can happen in the threatening worlds of Chandor and Lumet, and even when it doesn't, there's the feeling that the characters have only temporarily escaped tragedy. This mood leads to what I think is one of the film's great sequences. It's a chase sequence in which Abel, Isaac's character, must run down a lead on who has been stealing his business's trucks. With most chase sequences, it's easy to tell how it's going to end - the plot event has to be resolved by the character either catching the prey or not - but in this sequence, even though we know that Abel will catch the guy, we don't know whether Abel will fall further from grace and become a murderer. This moment of unpredictability is masterfully built and becomes an example of how good films can take a familiar construct - the chase - and make it fresh and exciting. Overall, A Most Violent Year is a phenomenal film, and it solidifies Isaac and Chandor as two of our most promising talents.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A Most Violent Year Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features