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Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Two Faces Of January (2014)

Set in 1962 Greece, an American tour guide (Oscar Isaac, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS) who bilks tourists meets up with a wealthy American (Viggo Mortensen) and his much younger wife (Kirsten Dunst). When the older man accidentally kills a private detective (David Warshofsky) on his trail, the younger man helps him take care of the body but he is under the impression the man is unconscious, not dead. Thus begins a journey for the trio that will prove deadly. Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, TALENTED MR. RIPLEY), perhaps this tight little noir isn't what it could have been but it's good enough. The directorial debut of Hossein Amini (he wrote DRIVE) who also adapted the screenplay, despite some minor changes he's faithful to Highsmith's book. Mortensen and Isaac make a formidable pair of larcenous souls though a promising thematic thread of Mortensen as a father image to Isaac is hinted at but never fully explored. Still, there's enough style and bite to make it a more than satisfactory contemporary film noir. The discreet score is by Alberto Iglesias (THE SKIN I LIVE IN) and Marcel Zyskind's (28 DAYS LATER) lensing of the Athens and Crete locations is quite handsome. With Daisy Bevan.

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