Technically, A Most Violent Year isn’t set during New York City’s most violent year. According to writer/director J.C. Chandor, that would be 1991—when the crack epidemic led to a spike in violent crime in the city’s worst neighborhoods.
But 1981, in which his film is set, was one of the most dangerous years on record. New York was emerging from the Taxi Driver 1970s, when President Gerald Ford and the federal government had essentially told the bankrupt city to drop dead. “Even though the country was starting to rebound a little bit by then, New York City was still dealing with the horrible repercussions of all the cutbacks of the ’70s,” says Chandor. “It also turns out that it’s just an amazing transition year, with [President] Reagan coming into office. So it just felt like a real explosive time in the city where optimism was starting to creep in again.” READ FULL STORY