Friday, 27 February 2015

The Two Faces of January

Lowdown: The death of a private detective puts the members of a love triangle together on an escape route.
1962 Athens. A middle aged American business man (Viggo Mortensen) is travelling with his trophy wife (Kirsten Dunst) when they bump into a young Greek speaking American working as a tour guide (Oscar Isaac). The tour guide helps them here and there. He even helps the business man help this drunk guy that was stuck in his hotel room; little does he know the seemingly drunk guy is actually a now dead private detective. He’s just interested in the trophy wife. When he does learn what’s going on, though, all three have to flee together.
Thus starts a solid thriller based on a 1964 book. It’s well acted, well directed, a very polished affair throughout. Nothing appears digital here; look and feel wise, it's simply the actors doing their work on [European] location from the period. A clear case of a movie that feels like a classic but is done under today’s production value standards.
The Two Faces of January is definitely entertaining despite me being unable to explain its name (there is a rather cryptic explanation at the very beginning, but it's not like it makes much sense). Where The Two Faces of January is lacking is in that elusive factor I refer to as depth: sure, there is an interesting story here, a thriller + love triangle affair. But there is nothing special about it; nothing we haven’t seen before in one guise or another. Nothing that seems to try and speak out so as to leave viewers pondering once the credits roll.
Overall: The Two Faces of January offers solid, quality entertainment. I guess we should be happy with that, given that solid+quality entertainment is rather rare in the thriller department. 3 out of 5 crabs that, yet again, are quite impressed with Mortensen’s acting.

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