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“THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY”
EXCLUSIVE DES MOINES ENGAGEMENT
Friday 4:00, 7:30, 9:30
Excerpts from a review on the British FocusFilm website:
The Two Faces of January is an American thriller, written and directed by Hossein Amini, based on the 1964 novel by Patricia Highsmith. This is the directorial debut for Hossein Amini, who has previously written the screenplays for Drive and Snow White and the Huntsman.
The Two Faces of January stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst as Chester and his much younger wife, Colette MacFarland, a married couple travelling around Athens. Whilst there, they meet Rydal, played by Oscar Isaac, an American working as a tourist guide in Athens who scams his customers. Aften an incident at the hotel the McFarlands are staying at, they have to flee Athens with the help of Rydal.
As the film is based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, who also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley, it could be easy to compare this with the highly successful 1999 film version of The Talented Mr. Ripley. However, The Two Faces of January manages to be successful on its own, due to its intriguing plot and strong cast.
Throughout the film, the audience are constantly left wondering what the three characters will do next. Especially in the case of Rydal, whose motives aren‛t completely known.
You are also not completely aware of what the incident concerning Chester MacFarland is regarding, which has caused them to leave Athens in a hurry. All of these questions only make the film more intriguing, as you follow the characters without knowing what will happen next, and only gathering more information about them as the story moves along.
All three main characters are perfectly portrayed, as Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac are excellent at playing characters that seem like they‛re hiding something, especially in the case of the two male characters. As the story continues, tensions mount and you want to know more about each of them…Oscar Isaac has a stand out role as the mysterious man stuck between the married couple. As thrillers go, this is fairly easy-going to view, but it will still keep you guessing throughout.
“Carefully directed and gorgeous to look at, with haunting performances and maximum suspense, The Two Faces of January is an exemplary thriller about murder and sex in exotic locales, adapted from a hair-raising Patricia Highsmith novel that makes the transition from page to screen with pulsating ease. Color it mesmerizing.” — Rex Reed, New York Observer