Bradford Young, the cinematographer for Selma, a biopic about MLK’s human-rights campaign in Selma, Alabama, also shot A Most Violent Year, a film set in the age of hiphop’s birth—the early 1980s.
The movie is about Abel (played by the handsome Oscar Isaac), a man who has a beautiful wife (a surprisingly busty Jessica Chastain—never knew she could rock it like that), beautiful kids, a beautiful house, and an unglamorous business that sells oil to working-class New Yorkers.
Everything was going right in Abel’s life until some very bad people started regularly robbing his truck drivers. Who are these goons working for? To complicate matters, Abel has big plans to expand his business. But everything will fall apart if the robberies don’t stop.
That is basically the plot, which is not bad, and the film as a whole is really quite good. The direction is strong, the acting solid, and the cinematography crisp. There is also, thankfully, very little local color in A Most Violent Year.