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DVD: The Two Faces of January | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Two Faces of January

DVD: The Two Faces of January

A superb, elegant thriller that's excellent on the small screen

Greeks bearing gifts: Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac in 'The Two Faces of January'

Hugely underrated, The Two Faces of January packs more filmmaking power than, at least, its poster would ever suggest. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, which puts it streets ahead of most films, Two Faces... has a superb ensemble cast: Viggo Mortensen is the alluring Chester MacFarland, travelling with his equally alluring wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) and their accidental tour guide, the charming Greek-American Rydal Keener (Oscar Isaac).

Hugely underrated, The Two Faces of January packs more filmmaking power than, at least, its poster would ever suggest. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, which puts it streets ahead of most films, Two Faces... has a superb ensemble cast: Viggo Mortensen is the alluring Chester MacFarland, travelling with his equally alluring wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) and their accidental tour guide, the charming Greek-American Rydal Keener (Oscar Isaac). Set in 1962, the couple are sightseeing and become entangled with Rydal, a small-time crook. Coming to their hotel quite innocently, Rydal sees Chester dragging a man into another room and is hoodwinked into helping. Meanwhile, Colette and Rydal are beginning to find each other very interesting.

A production between Studiocanal and Working Title, this is the first feature debut as a director for Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated Hossein Amini, screenwriter of Drive and The Wings of a Dove. Here, he’s made an adult thriller similar in tone to Highsmith’s Ripley and similarly with both remarkable content and style. Amini knows what to do with a camera and makes the most of great production design by Michael Carlin, along with superior talents in the costume, make-up, location, cinematography, editing and music departments. This is the kind of film Hollywood used to make – smart, beautiful, subtle and exciting – and clearly Amini needs to get into the driver’s seat again soon.

While it is best on the big screen, it is also enthralling on DVD but it isn’t for the immature mind. This is a tense, glamorous thriller that'll pop you on the nose. DVD extras include featurettes of Twist & Thriller, Shooting the Odyssey and Travelling in Style, along with interviews, deleted scenes and – gads! – bloopers.

This is the kind of film Hollywood used to make – smart, beautiful, subtle and exciting

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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