America Has Made My Fortune: A Most Violent Year von J.C. Chandor

In seinem dritten Spielfilm dreht J.C. Chandor in den 10er-Jahren des 21. Jahrhunderts einen 70er-Jahre-Film des 20.Jahrhunderts, der in den 80er-Jahren desselben Jahrhunderts spielt. Von den Lumet-Hinterhöfen zum Schnee der Bronx, kalte Gemäuer, die Farbtöne sind ein Wasteland, es ist wie bei James Gray ohne das Glühen, wo ist hier der Obststand, an dem sie in den 40ern auf Vito Corleone geschossen haben? Jeder Satz in A Most Violent Year wiegt heftig, alles ist eine Frage der Loyalität, des Respekts und vor allem des Geldes. Schwere Kamerafahrten voller Macht, die begleitet von den episch-leidenden Tönen von Alex Ebert auf die Gesichter und Körper dieses Ölindustrie-Dramas zufahren, eigentlich eine Stilübung, aber mancherorts als hochkomplexe Erzählung gefeiert. Im Zentrum steht ein Mann, der tatsächlich Abel Morales heißt. Es gibt keinen Widerspruch zwischen der Person und ihrem Namen. Er ist ein Aufsteiger im Heizölhandel an der Ostküste 1981. Er ist Einwanderer, hat eine Frau und zwei Kinder. Gespielt wird er von Oscar Isaac (und seinem Mantel), der vielleicht eine der besseren Imitationen von Al Pacino in The Godfather abliefert. Eine starre Miene, die immer versucht zu antizipieren, den nächsten Schritt zu erahnen, um dann kalt und entwaffnend zuzuschlagen. Aber im Gegensatz zu Michael Corleone versucht sich Abel trotz heftiger Bedrohungen und Angriffe auf sein Unternehmen und seine Familie deutlich vehementer auf legalem Weg durchzusetzen. (Serpico nur ohne den Realismus) Ein Weg, der natürlich voller ziemlich eindeutiger Ambivalenzen (der Widerspruch ist gewollt) und Konflikten erschwert wird, die im Endeffekt auf einen typischen Abgesang auf den amerikanischen Traum hinausläuft. Die auf den nüchtern leidenden Mann einprasselnden Botschaften arbeiten dramaturgisch irgendwo zwischen Videospielmissionen und einer biblischen Parabel. Unbekannte stehlen gewaltvoll seine Tanklaster, Mitarbeiter werden verprügelt und auch die Polizei fängt an, gegen das Unternehmen zu ermitteln. Jedes Hindernis fordert immer eine neue Reaktion, ein neues Opfer und einen neuen Prinzipienbruch von Abel. Unterstützt wird er dabei von seiner Frau Anna (Jessica Chastain), die sein Ego herausfordert, sich ebenso wenig mit dem Durschnitt zufrieden gibt und in einer völlig überzogenen Szene mit einem überfahrenen Reh zeigt, was für eine harte Frau sie doch ist.

J.C. Chandor Oscar Isaac

Das Problem des Films ist zugleich seine Stärke. Es ist ein Fanboy-Film ohne Seele und ohne Realismusdrang. Chandor scheint daran, interessiert gewesen zu sein (wie bereits vor einiger Zeit der enttäuschende Derek Cianfrance in seinem The Place Beyond the Pines) einen Film auf eine gewisse Art zu drehen, statt einen Film zu drehen und die Art, aus dem Film heraus zu entwickeln. Man sieht Schauspielern dabei zu wie sie sich perfekt ins malerisch ausgeleuchtete Bild (das man schon irgendwo gesehen hat) setzen. Immer wieder scheint sich der Filmemacher über seine eigenen Bilder zu freuen. Diese Freude vermag man manchmal fast zu teilen, auch wenn man sich dazu auch einfach einen Film aus der Zeit ansehen könnte oder eben zum Beispiel The Immigrant von James Gray, der zwar auch einige Schwächen hat, aber in seiner Wiederbelebung einer Zeit und einer Kinozeit eine Sinnlichkeit in die Bilder legt, die auf ihre Art betont, dass es eine neue oder andere Perspektive auf scheinbar Bekanntes geben kann. Bei Chandor ist das nicht der Fall. Also erfreuen wir uns mit ihm an seinen Figuren, die am Bildrand aus dem Bild blicken, sodass hinter ihnen ein bedrohlich-epischer Raum entsteht, die immer wieder überrascht werden und durch die Dunkelheit tapsen und die sehr interessant und dynamisch in Verfolgungsjagden gefilmt werden. Allerdings passt die Selbstreflexivität und Selbstdarstellung der Figuren in diese streng komponierten, irgendwie geklauten Bilder, aus denen sich zugleich Eleganz und Unfreiheit ergibt. Und wenn ich mich frage, wo die Seele dieses Films schlummert, dann könnte man mir vielleicht antworten: „Genau.“ Oder aber die anhaltende Relevanz einer solchen Geschichte (einige deutliche Male wird schon darauf hingewiesen, dass Öl keine Kleingangstersache bleiben wird) wie sie in A Most Violent Year erzählt wird, ist das eigentlich bedenklich.

Jessica Chastain und Oscar Isaac

Es wird oft geschrieben, dass J.C. Chandor Männer in Krisen zeigt, Männer im Niedergang des amerikanischen Traums (ich weiß es gibt auch Frauen hier, aber nein, sie sind nicht wirklich da), die gezwungen sind, kühle und professionelle Entscheidungen zu treffen und die das oft mit bestechender und auffälliger Qualität tun. Am Offensichtlichsten war diese Struktur in seinem Margin Call, aber auch in All is Lost und A Most Violent Year sind solche Tendenzen mehr als deutlich. Das eigentlich spannende ist, dass Chandor den Moment nach dem Fall filmt, also eigentlich die Landung. Die Männer sind bereits gescheitert (sei es beruflich, auf ihrer Reise oder in ihren Prinzipien), sie leben eine verkorkste Version ihrer eigenen Träume und müssen sich fast wie Sisyphos damit arrangieren und umso härter weiterkämpfen. Pervers, wie aus diesen Situationen noch Auswege entstehen. So sagt der moralische Morales am Ende: „There is always the most right way“. Und vielleicht ist dieser Hoffnungsschimmer im Brachland das eigentlich Tragische im Kino von J.C. Chandor. Die Existenz geht weiter, auch wenn ihr Kern gestorben ist im Kapitalismus. Die 1970er Jahre leben im amerikanischen Kino der Gegenwart. Chandor hat sich dem Trend angepasst und ist weder gescheitert noch hat er begeistert. Aber er kämpft.

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