The Two Faces of January 2014

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Patricia Highsmith has been a great source for cinema, from Strangers on A Train to The Talented Mr Ripley. Drive scribe Hossein Amini makes a respectful job with The Two faces of January, a low-key thriller which makes a virtue of it’s early 50’s setting. Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst are Colette and Chester MacFarland, a wealthy American couple who run into a spot of both while on holiday in Athens; it seems that his shady business dealings have caught up with him, and his escape leaves behind a corpse. Implicated in the death is local hustler Rydal (Oscar Isaac) who has the hots for Colette, and the three fugitives face dangers from not only the pursuing authorities, but from within their uneasy alliance. From the staid title, onwards, The Two Faces of January is notable for its unwillingness to pander to modern trends; Amini plays it straight, and while the result isn’t particularly innovative in conception or delivery, it’s lack of sex, bad-language, violence or any other extremes take it closer to the goal of making Highsmith’s tightly wound plot sing.

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