A Most Violent Year (2014) 

GATUNEK:  Akcja, Kryminalny, Dramat

OPIS FILMU: Akcja toczy się w Nowym Jorku w 1981 – w roku, w którym odnotowano największy wzrost przestępczości w tym mieście. Film opowiada historię rodziny imigrantów, którzy prowadząc swój własny biznes narazili się mafii.

PLOT: Set in early 1981 New York City, considered to be one of the most violent years in the city’s history, Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is the hard-working owner of Standard Oil, an up and coming heating oil company. At the onset of the film, we see that Abel’s business has been plagued by the hijacking of several trucks, each carrying thousands of dollars in heating oil. One young driver, Julian (Elyes Gabel), is severely beaten when his oil truck is hijacked by two unknown assailants. Abel’s wife, Anna Morales (Jessica Chastain), beseeches Abel to fight violence with violence, but Abel refuses. At the same time as these menacing hijackings are taking place, Morales and his company are under investigation by Assistant District Attorney Lawrence (David Oyelowo), who seems determined to expose price fixing, tax evasion, and various other illegalities committed by Morales and his competitors within the heating oil business.

Believing the only way to secure financial independence for himself and trump his competitors, Abel (through the help of his attorney, Andrew Walsh) (Albert Brooks), brokers a deal with a group of Jewish Chassidim, led by Josef Mendellsohn (Jerry Adler) to purchase a fuel oil terminal on the East River, which will allow Morales’ company to directly import fuel oil from barges and allow him to store far more oil in the summertime when fuel oil prices are lower. He places a large down payment of 40 percent on the property with the agreement that he will close in 30 days.

After moving into a new home, Morales prevents what appears to be an attempted burglary, which later turns out to be far more nefarious when the next day one of his daughters finds a loaded handgun dropped in the bushes by the perpetrator. Suspecting this intimidation is coming from his competitors, he begins to confront them one by one; each one, of course, vehemently denying any such tactics of intimidation and theft to drive him out of business. After these events, he is approached by the head of the Teamsters who encourages him to arm his drivers with handguns and fake permits that he can secure for him. Morales refuses to arm his drivers, believing that such a move could bring down even more heat on his operation from the authorities and potentially ruin legitimate business connections he has with the bank, who are financing his oil terminal purchase.

Returning to work after weeks of rehabilitation, young Julian is again accosted by criminals, this time on the Queensboro Bridge in broad daylight. Carrying a firearm, without Abel’s knowledge or permission, he engages in a midday shootout with the hijackers, which results in the police arriving and chasing Julian and the other assailants, who all escape. This incident once again shifts Morales and his company into the spotlight of not only ADA Lawrence, but the bank as well, which informs him that due to the impending criminal indictments and this unfortunate public incident, it can no longer finance his purchase of the terminal.

Desperate, and needing $1.5 million to close on the property, he approaches his competition, Saul Leftkowitz and his granddaughter, who agree to give him a $500,000 loan for 20 percent interest and equity in the company for the term of the agreement. He manages to scrounge up another $200,000 by taking out a mortgage loan against an apartment building that he and his younger brother own together. With time winding down quickly, he intercepts a radio call for help from one of his drivers, who states his truck is being hijacked. Being nearby, he pursues the stolen truck, chasing it through a tunnel until it overturns, killing one hijacker, while Morales pursues the other on foot. Eventually catching up to him and attacking him, Morales demands to know who the mastermind is behind the hijackings. The hijacker pleads for his life, and denies he was hired by anyone, but reveals that he sold his last stolen shipment in Far Rockaway. This immediately alerts Morales that one of his competitors, who has facilities in Far Rockaway, is behind at least some of the hijackings. Confronting him and threatening to alert the federal authorities as the stolen fuel is marked, he convinces him to repay over $200,000 for stolen fuel oil to Morales.

As Morales is getting closer to his goal of $1.5 million, he reluctantly goes to the home of Peter Forente (Alessandro Nivola) to ask for another $600,000 to give him the money he needs. Forente is reluctant, telling Morales that he does not really want to borrow money from „his kind of people”, alluding to the fact that Forente has possible Mafia connections. Forente eventually agrees to give Morales the loan, but on very unfavorable terms. Dismayed by having to leverage his company to such a high degree in order to secure the loan, Morales approaches his wife to inform her of the situation, only to learn she has been „skimming” from the company for years and has placed the money into a secret account, which is enough to replace the money that Forente has agreed to loan him.

Having the money he now needs, Morales pays off his debtors and secures the terminal, but is approached by an angry Julian carrying a gun, who blames Morales for his problems, believing that he should also be entitled to some of Morales’ good fortune. Despondent by his being a wanted man, he shoots himself in the head in front of Abel, Anna, and his attorney, Andrew Walsh. As the police show up with ADA Lawrence to investigate the suicide, Morales expresses that the broader investigations into his firm are hurting his business, and that they should find a conclusion at some point. Lawrence agrees in general terms, suggests that this new fuel oil terminal will propel Morales’ business and give him „political influence”, and alludes to the fact that Morales might help with his own higher aspirations. Morales responds by pointing out that he has always done ‚the right thing’.