Tag Archives: JC Chandor

Review: A Most Violent Year

JC Chandor’s third film in four years, and possibly his best, firmly establishes him as a leading voice for a new generation of gifted filmmakers taking up the history of classic cinema and creating the future out of the past. His three films, a dialogue-heavy corporate thriller, a dialogue-free survival parable knowing desperation as well as quiet agony, and now a tone poem to a city in the guise of a ’70s-styled crime thriller, all owe an equal amount to the nervy, alert grit of ’70s cinema and add on a modernist, even impressionist edge to focus more on space and abstract mood to go with the concrete grime of his films’ physicality.

Certainly, he seems heading even further in this direction, confident here (as he was in his previous film) with moving away from the crutch of dialogue that somewhat hindered his debut directorial effort. His trek is all the more exciting because he hasn’t yet developed a narrative singularity, or even a commonality of tone. His films are joined by a focus on process as a means to define character, but they do not necessarily feel like the work of one director. If he is an auteur, he rejects the defeating sense of personal sameness and stuffy inflexibility so often prone to directors who stick to one style and theme without fail. He’s an invigorating breath of fresh air, a director ready to tackle anything with verve, panache, physicality, and poetry.
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Review: All is Lost

It’s a thing of wonder that filmmaker JC Chandor made the mostly silent All is Lost, his second film, directly after the dialogue-stricken Margin Call, a corporate thriller (perhaps the most dialogue-heavy genre in existence), his feature debut. Of course, the difference between the two is more one of taste, but this second film, which knows not the realism of dialogue and must rely on the more affectingly filmic lens of pure imagery, is more satisfying as an elemental wonder and a parable of human loneliness. The narrative is archly straightforward, uninterested in fussy complication or false villains. We have an old man (Robert Redford) and we have a sea (well, the Indian Ocean), and these old friends find themselves for once on the opposite sides of an argument. We follow them as they resolve it. Continue reading