Coming out of the fantastic Margin Call, I thought that J.C. Chandor was one of those filmmakers I had to watch because his command of story and pacing was so refreshing. Then I saw All Is Lost, where both of those elements are almost exclusively absent, and now with A Most Violent Year he seems to be a filmmaker lost in the woods and it is more troubling now because he had a decent setting to work with (crime-ridden New York City during the early 1980’s). As each scene plays out in repetitive fashion, you realize that everything in the frame is a mirage: it may look like a period crime drama, it may have two top-flight actors in Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, but this movie is about absolutely nothing. I’ve never seen a film quite like A Most Violent Year because it spends its entire runtime trying to justify its existence, but it doesn’t have a leg to stand on because there’s no propulsion inside this paper-thin plot. Another case of a beautiful looking yet infuriatingly empty film.