🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — A Most Violent Year

6 min readFeb 19, 2021

New York City — 1981.

Julian trucks heating oil for Abel Morales. Julian is attacked at a toll booth and left injured in the road as robbers make off with his truck.

Abel is speaking with Jewish landowner, Joseph. He says Abel has thirty days to call off the transaction. If Abel fulfils the terms of the contract, the property is his. If he cannot, Joseph keeps the money and sells to Abel’s competition.

The thieves broke Julian’s jaw. Anna visits him in hospital. She congratulates her husband, Abel on the signing of the contract. Instead of getting Anna’s violent family involved, Abel wants to talk to the District Attorney, Mr Lawrence. Abel says that the men who did this are cowards — too weak to make a living or even fight with their own hands. And, too stupid to think of anything else to do. There was $6,000 worth of fuel in the truck Julian was driving.

Abel and his lawyer, Andrew, go to the DA. Andrew says it’s an urgent problem — their drivers are scared to death. Abel has always complied with the DA, spending thousands of dollars providing all the requested information. Abel wants to know who’s been robbing his trucks. The DA asks why it should bother the authorities that the heating oil business is stealing from its own people, when this is exactly what Abel’s been doing to his customers and fellow tax payers for the last fifteen years. Abel denies any wrongdoing. The DA says he’s bringing a case against Abel.

Abel is training new salespeople. If they’re offered options of what to drink, they should always request the fancier of the two: tea, not coffee; homemade lemonade and not soda. They must act like they’re the best and come across that way at all times. Their trucks are the newest and the cleanest and their drivers are approachable. Finally, the customer must sign. To help encourage this, they should show the customer the number and stare at the customer for longer than they should.

Abel’s lawyer arrives with news of the DA’s charges. He’s bringing a fourteen count indictment against them, three of which are serious. They date back to when Abel bought the business from Anna’s father.

Bill, of the Teamsters, wants all his drivers armed. He tells Andrew he wants every driver in his fleet to have a handgun and permit by Friday.

Abel goes to see Peter. Peter says that the guys who let Abel in will shoot anyone not invited. Abel says he refuses to live his life that way.

Abel then hears that another of his trucks has been targeted. Andrew says that, driver security aside, the spate of hijackings is having a negative impact on their finances. Abel says his drivers will never be armed. Andrew says if Abel doesn’t arm his drivers, they’ll upset the head of the Teamsters. Abel is worried that if one of his drivers shoots someone, he’ll get the blame.

When Abel and Anna hit a deer with their car, she reveals her personal handgun to shoot it. Since it’s unlicenced, Abel’s worried about her getting caught using it. When he says it’s a whore’s gun, she slaps him across the face. He says guns aren’t allowed in his house.

Julian is in heavy traffic when he spots men leaving a car behind him. He radios for help and prepares the gun he has. He shoots, then the men shoot. When there are police sirens, the two men run off — and so does Julian.

Abel meets the DA and says these incidents are terrible for him and are definitely not how he does business. The DA says he wants to find Julian. Abel’s banker, Arthur, now says he can’t support the loan on Thursday. Abel reminds him of their eleven year history together. The first loan he took out, he had five years to repay the loan and Abel repaid him in six and a half months. Arthur says Abel now has three serious pending legal cases against him ranging from fraud to tax evasion and also that he’s armed his fleet. Abel says none of it’s true. Arthur says it doesn’t matter, his hands are tied.

Abel tells Anna about the bank pulling out of the property deal and that he’ll find the $1.5m somehow. She reasserts that they have two days. Abel visits Julian’s girlfriend, speaking in Spanish. Julian leaves his hiding place and makes a run for it, jumping out the window. Abel shouts that he should stop running. Julian is soon recaptured.

Abel and Andrew are handing over Julian to the police. In the car, Andrew keeps a close watch on Julian. Julian has inadvertently put twenty year’s of work at risk, but he can’t understand why. Andrew says that now, no bank will touch them. If Abel can’t close the deal with Joseph, he loses everything. Mere yards from the police waiting to take Julian into custody, he goes on the run again.

Abel visits competitor Saul and his granddaughter looking for a loan. When they ask how much for, he says $1.5m. They offer $500,000 with strict terms. Abel goes to Joseph asking for more time. Abel gets a further three days.

Abel calls a meeting of all of his competitors to discuss the 110,000 gallons of fuel that’s been stolen from him. The people gathered are the only people within 200 miles who have the ability to purchase and store that much fuel. Abel says they should have some pride in what they do and stop.

Abel tells Anna they’ve got three more days — but are still $1m short. Anna suggests he sees his brother and also Peter. Abel goes to watch his brother playing football. The brothers own a property together and they agree to remortgage it for $210,000.

On the way home, Abel hears about an attack on one of his trucks in progress. Soon, he’s chasing the truck himself. After a while, the truck flips over onto its side. One man is dead in the cab. Abel chases the other man onto the Subway. Abel roughs him up on a platform and sticks his gun in the man’s eye socket, asking who he works for. The man pleads for his life and Abel relents. The thief then says that he works alone and doesn’t know the people he sells to. He then adds that he sold some fuel in Far Rockaway.

Abel goes to the barbershop — the hangout of competitor, Arnold, who has facilities in Far Rockaway. He wants $213,000 — the amount that Arnold’s taken from him over the last six months. Arnold then says that it wasn’t just him paying for stolen fuel. Abel says he’ll report Arnold to the DA’s office if he doesn’t get compensated for his losses.

Abel goes to Peter for the remainder of the money. Peter says he’s not nice people to owe three quarters of a million dollars to. Peter says he must think about this, practising his forehand in the air.

Abel tells Anna he thinks he can pull it off. It’s messy — getting the money from three different parties each with terrible terms. He’s spent his whole life trying not to become a gangster and now, the biggest deal of his career, they’re going to own him.

Out of the blue, Anna says she’s been skimming the company for years and that it’s clean as every dollar they’ve ever made. She says their success was nothing to do with his good luck, hard work or charm — it was her.

Abel brings all the money to Joseph, contracts are signed and the Bay Front Terminal deal is closed. After the “masel tov”s and hand-shaking, Abel leads Anna and Andrew out the back of their new property to show them the view of New York City.

Julian appears — angry and armed. He says he wants Abel to look after his family, then shoots himself in the head. Abel notices that the bullet punctured a massive oil drum after having passed through Julian’s head and quickly stems the leaking oil.

The DA pulls up and Abel says he wanted the suicide handled properly. He doesn’t want any deal with the DA’s office. He’s not accepting felony charges for anything that he’s done. But, also, he doesn’t want ten more years of the DA’s suspicion. Abel wants to come to some sort of conclusion.

The DA says that with his new real estate, Abel will have significant political influence. Mr Lawrence tells Abel he’s come a very long way in a very short time. Abel says that he’s always taken the path that is the most right. The result has never been in question for him, just what path you take to get there. The DA says he hopes so.

Starring Oscar Isaac. Jessica Chastain. David Oyelowo. Rated 15. Dir JC Chandor. Released in the UK 2014. Runtime 2hrs 5mins




Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)