The Two Faces of January 2014

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A thriller centered on a con artist, his wife, and a stranger who try to flee a foreign country after one of them is caught up in the murder of a police officer.

Starring:
Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

The Two Faces of January

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 36 minutes
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac
Director Hossein Amini
Genres Thriller
Studio STUDIOCANAL
Rental release 15 September 2014
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 36 minutes
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac
Director Hossein Amini
Genres Thriller
Studio STUDIOCANAL
Rental release 15 September 2014
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Albatross TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Oct 2014
Format: DVD
I always think that the word ‘thriller’ can be a little misleading. ‘The Two Faces of January’ is often described as a ‘thriller,’ however, if you’re expecting wall to wall car chases and edge-of-your-seat kind of thrills then you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

It’s about an American city trader and his young wife who have ‘escaped’ to Europe, due to owing money to the ‘wrong’ people. Unfortunately for them, their past literally catches up with them in the form of a debt collector who they subsequently kill. Now they’re forced to enlist the help of a local young man to evade capture and flee their once safe haven.

And what follows is pretty slow, but deliberately slow. There are no government agents of police officers on their trail. Their worst (and most dangerous) enemies turn out to be each other. The two men are sort of tied together, both admitting that they’d drop the other in it if either were to get caught. It’s almost more of a ‘cat and mouse’ sort of game they play, even though they’re never more than a few feet apart.

Some people have described the film as akin to Hitchcock’s work. There are certainly comparisons to be drawn, as, not only is The Two Faces of January set in Hitchcock’s era, but it’s more of a subtle thriller, relying on tension in relationships and a slow build up of tension to provide the experience.

Viggo Mortensen is the star. Yes, Kirsten Dunst is the other ‘big name’ in the film and her (and Oscar Isaac supports the pair of them), but Mortensen arguably turns in the best performance. You can’t help but at least slightly root for him throughout most of the film.

It’s not a long film and its runtime is suitable. If it went on too long, people would probably start getting bored. If you’re into quieter, more refined, character-based thrillers, then you should give this a try. Those craving fast-paced action will be best off avoiding this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Valerie J. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Nov 2014
Format: DVD
It's Athens, 1962, and a handsome young American called Rydal (Oscar Isaac) is acting as a tourist guide to earn some money, as well as conning a few tourists into parting with theirs. His attention is caught by a couple of wealthy-looking American tourists, Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen) and his pretty wife, Colette (Kirsten Dunst). Chester becomes aware that Rydal is watching them and Colette light-heartedly makes it her business to meet the Greek-speaking young American and find out about him. Rydal seems harmless enough and so Chester invites him, and a friend, to dinner. What begins as a casual and amusing acquaintanceship turns into something more intimate and sinister when a man with a gun turns up at the MacFarlands' hotel room and Rydal, returning a bracelet left accidentally by Colette in a taxi cab, finds Chester dragging what appears to be an unconscious man along the corridor. Suddenly the triangular relationship of Chester, Colette, and Rydal turns into one of compromise, jealousy, distrust, and danger.

Although The Two Faces of January (perhaps a reference to the two-faced Roman God, Janus, looking to the past and the future) is a bit of a slow-burner to start with it soon picks up and develops a distinctly Hitchcockian flavour. I half expected the profile of a pot-bellied director to appear for an instant somewhere in the background. It's quite a classy movie really with great locations and settings as the characters do a bit of country hopping, but I was surprised at the casting. I always think of Viggo Mortensen as an action actor but in this he plays an aging man who is jealous of a handsome young man who, in turn, is attracted to his wife.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Guy TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Aug 2014
Format: DVD
The film is based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith. Rydal (Oscar Isaac) is an American living abroad working as a tour guide fleecing American tourists. He has father issues. He meets Chester (Viggo Mortensen) MacFarland who reminds him of his father and his wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) who he desires in an Oedipus kind of way.

Chester gets into trouble and must go on the run. Rydal comes along with and gets tangled in his life.

Janus was a two faced god who looked both forward and backward. The title refers to Rydal, who is a younger form of Chester, two people who are alike but different in age. The story takes on aspects of a Greek Tragedy. The action is slow. The film is more drama than thriller. It is about relationships, that could have been better developed. (I imagine the book did that.)

This is not a film for everyone. It is well acted, but the plot moves slow.

Parental Guide: No F-bombs, sex, or nudity.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Robinski on 7 Jun 2014
Format: DVD
A compelling throwback to the suspenseful thrillers of 60 years ago, Two Faces of January is as stylish a film as you will see from any decade since talkies began. Reminiscent of Hitchcock in his 1950's pomp, but without the melodrama, writer director Hossein Amini's interpretation of Patricia Highsmith's novel is beautiful to look at. The European locations evoke an idealised period of foreign travel, yet the film has an underbelly that scrapes the surface of gritty realism in the way that Hitchcock did not. The result is an involving slow burn with flashes of action only when warranted. The heart of the film is the evolving relationship between its three stars, who quickly become tied together. No McGuffins here, only solid plotting and convincing events used effectively to advance the story. The central performances are compelling and highly accomplished. Oscar Isaac must now be on the verge of the A-list after following Llewyn Davis with his excellent turn here, and Kirsten Dunst steps out of the shadow of teen movies and blockbuster love interest with a beguiling performance in the role of Colette. But Mortensen is the emotional engine whose misfiring character, MacFarland, pushes the plot forward with stuttering steps. His performance should be considered a career best as he embraces all of MacFarland's flaws and lays them bare for the audience to great emotional effect. After such an assured and beautifully realised performance behind the camera, there can be little doubt that Hossein Amini's future is likely to be in the director's chair, and his next project should be awaited with keen anticipation.
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