The Two Faces of January – Review

This film is billed as a thriller and it is set in early 1960s Greece and Crete. I’m not really sure it is that thrilling, but it is an old fashioned drama adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel. It is very Patricia Highsmith: lots of greedy people ripping each other off, people enjoying excess (or at least trying to) and perfectly attired actors all over the place. Maybe that is the key problem with this movie: it tries too hard to be perfect and everyone is always almost clinically dressed in beautiful clothes regardless of whether they’ve slept rough, been fighting or have just fallen over drunk as a jug.

Kirsten Dunst plays Kirsten Dunst as Viggo Mortensen’s partner and whilst Oscar Isaac looks convincing in his role I still cannot forgive him for starring in one of the most boring films of all time (Inside Llewyn Davis).

From fairly early on you realise that Viggo’s reckless character is going to get caught and you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that this will probably happen just before the end of the film. You just keep wondering whether he will get caught before he dies of throat or liver cancer. Poor Viggo must have smoked at least 90 cigarettes and drunk three or four bottles of whisky in just under 100 minutes.

It is nevertheless an entertaining story that does maintain your attention. Towards the end there is also an excellent realistic foot chase scene in which the heavy-smoking and hard-drinking Viggo thankfully does not suddenly become an Olympic gymnast and athlete, as is the case in so many other films.

Good. 3.5/5

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