15 September 2014

Blu-ray Review - Two Faces Of January (2014)

Crime, Drama, Film Noir
BD/DVD Release Date:
15th September 2014 (UK)
Rating: 12
Hossein Amini
Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac, Yigit Özsener, Daisy Bevan
buy: The Two Faces Of January [DVD]

The Two Faces of January is the directorial debut film by Hossein Amini who made his name writing the screenplay for Drive. Amini has a knack for neo-noir and his latest is no exception. It’s based on a novel by note crime writer Patricia Highsmith whose work had been adapted to screen many times before as far back as Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on the Train but also with such films as Plein Soleil, The American Friend and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The Two Faces of January continues this long legacy of great films based on her work and it doesn’t disappoint.

The year is 1962 and an American couple Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) are touring Greece. They meet the tour guide Rydel (Oscar Isaac) who is also has a knack for scamming tourists. They start socializing and go to dinner and Colette leaves a bracelet who Rydel returns it. However in the process a private detective is demanding Chester pay back the money he swindled and Chester kills him and asks Rydel to help him. They then travel together to escape the wrap but everyone has their own agenda. The film twists and turns to an electricity climax on the streets of Turkey.

The performances from the 3 main stars are all top notch. Viggo Mortensen is an actor I could almost watch reading the phone he always brings something interesting and captivating to roles he chooses. Oscar Isaac gives possibility his finest performance as Rydel who brings a wonderful sense of paranoia to the whole. It’s beautifully film by Marcel Zysking somewhat reminiscent of the early Highsmith adaptations of Plein Soleil and The Talented Mr. Ripley but that’s partly down to the fact they share locations.

Overall it’s a classy thriller that harkens back to a bygone era that remains one of the finest thrillers to come out in recent years. It’s beautifully filmed, the twists are believable and surprising and it has fantastic performances and a solid direction and script from Amini. It will mostly likely end up on my top 10 at the end of the year.


Ian Schultz

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