The Two Faces of January is set in 1960s Greece where a rich American couple are visiting the Acropolis and cross paths with a young American tour guide who also happens to be a hustler. Things are not all what they seem with the American couple and by a twist of fate the young American tour guide gets sucked into their murky world.
The premise appears to be an interesting one but unfortunately this film just didn’t follow through. It had an amazing cast: Viggo Mortensen (‘Chester’), Kirsten Dunst (‘Colette’) and Oscar Isaac (‘Rydal’) and the beautiful setting of Greece and it was all wasted.
The longer the film went on the more my hopes of something actually happening aside from the wistful looks between the Colette and Rydal and the smouldering glares from Chester. At last 20 minutes before the end there was an unexpected twist but by which time I was didn’t actually care what happened to the characters.
The screenwriter of this limp film based it on the book by Patricia Highsmith who also wrote The Talented Mr Ripley and the similarities are striking: the couple who meet an outsider, the setting although it is transferred from Italy to Greece etc. However, the one thing The Talented Mr Ripley had was interesting characters who we felt a connection with. The material was rich and the story engaging. The Two Faces of January is a poor imitation and the characters never develop much after the first 15 minutes of the film – what you see is all you get.
Finally why is the film called The Two Faces of January, I actually do not know and I don’t believe it was every explained or if it was I had disengaged by that time.
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