|Image from: http://www.liveforfilms.com|
Adapted from the book by Patricia Highsmith, The Two Faces of January is a tale of murder and betrayal in paradise.
Set in the early sixties, the films biggest pull is that it feels straight out of that era. Debut director Hossein Amini successfully captures the feel of an old Hollywood thriller; his fedora-wearing chain-smoking characters feel straight out of a film noir.
In fact, in almost every scene there seems to be a lit cigarette present, to the point where the BBFC comment on it in its rating (contains scenes of smoking).
It offers much on the surface, using the stunning locations of Greece, sixties clothing, and lighting to make for a visually pleasing experience.
Whilst this is where the film truly excels, it did keep me entertained too. Not on a great scale but there are enough flourishes of tension in the most unlikely of places (a queue at an airport) to hold my attention.
That said, the film has a number of issues. Its third act feels drawn out (more so when your dying for a wee) and each of the characters is so deplorable there’s nobody to really root for at any point.
With all the back stabbing and the constant battle of wits it’s hard at times to decipher the characters’ true motivations and ultimately this made for an unsatisfying ending.
Although I didn’t like the characters, they were at least interesting enough to keep me intrigued as to where the plot was going.
The Two Faces of January won’t change your life and it is neither memorable nor deep. However, it’s remarkable to look at and at the very least is consistently entertaining. One to watch but perhaps wait for this one on Blu.