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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Movie Review - The Two Faces of January

The Two Faces of January (2014)
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac
Directed by Hossein Amini
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Quite frankly, I had forgotten that I watched The Two Faces of January about two hours after I watched it.  Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel (the writer who brought us Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley), screenwriter and first-time director Hossein Amini fails to garner any modicum of excitement or thrills -- unfortunate seeing as how this is supposed to be a film that seemingly bases its success on whether suspense is generated.

Taking place in 1960s Greece, the film opens with married couple Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) taking a lovely vacation where they meet young tour guide Rydal (Oscar Isaac). Rydal is set up as a petty crook - milking the MacFarlands and other tourists of their money -- and seemingly the film's "bad guy," however, as we soon discover, it's Chester who holds the film's biggest secrets.  After a lovely day with his wife and Rydal, Chester is greeted at his hotel room by a private investigator who states that his clients have had money stolen from them by shady investment practices employed by Rydel.  This sends the MacFarlands on the run with Rydel assisting them through the streets of Greece and Crete as Chester grows increasingly more wary of anyone who tries to assist him.

The Greek setting is certainly lovely to look upon, but the film lacks the necessary tension for a flick like this to succeed.  While Oscar Isaac fares best as the rather innocent Rydal caught up in Chester's foul play, Mortensen and Dunst are almost blank slates, unable to carry the necessary weight and/or emotion for their characters to truly be believable, relatable, or interesting.

The Two Faces of January is a film that I probably should've liked, but instead found quite disappointing. 

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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