The line between right and wrong can be blurred from time to time. Morality can be questioned by seemingly good people and this in turn may produce some rather nasty results. The new dramatic thriller A Most Violent Year explores this paradox in adequate detail and while the direction and acting are both top notch, the film itself suffers from a severe case of the lulls. The action is limited and many of the scenes meander, establishing a tone that is neither tense nor very interesting. Talented lead actor Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Drive) and the beautiful Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help) do provide excellent performances but sadly, even their brilliance can’t save this boring and rather pointless film.
Usually, films based on acclaimed stage plays are relatively decent. Sure, they don’t capture the rawness and authenticity of a live production but normally, they’re somewhat adequate in recreating the story and adding a little pizzazz to the proceedings. With August Strindberg’s 1888 play Miss Julie, the line between theater and film is crossed with a unfortunately dull screen adaptation that features three very capable actors (Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton), an attractive set and costumes but sadly, little else. Swedish Liv Ullmann filmmaker and actress helmed the film and with an impressive resume to her credit, it’s a shame Miss Julie wasn’t a bit better.