The two Faces of January France, UK, USA 2014 – 97min.
The two Faces of January
Athens, 1962: a man who swindles tourists meets a charismatic American couple.
Greece, 1962. A few steps from the Acropolis, Rydal, a guide who swindles tourists, is won over by Chester and Colette MacFarland, a rich and charismatic American couple. Chester reminds him of his recently deceased father and Colette is incredible beautiful. But when Rydal accepts their invitation to dinner, he doesn’t realize he’s about to be sucked into an unsavory story of murder, as the couple is on the run from scams perpetrated by Chester...
The Two Faces of January is very reminiscent of The Talented Mr. Ripley, with sunny locations, ambiguous characters and an original story by Patricia Highsmith, but it lacks Ripley’s charm and power. Despite excellent performances by Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac in a taciturn face-off, this debut by the screenwriter of Drive suffers a falsely complex script, which is incapable of meeting its initial ambitions, because it is far too well-behaved and agreeable. But thanks to careful directing, the mechanics of this bad thriller remain pleasant, although it never meets expectations in terms of suspense.