The The Gala Screening of The Two Faces of January

LAFF: The Gala Screening of The Two Faces of January - LA (June 17, 2014)

Writer/Director Hossein Amini

The Two Faces of January 
(United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey, 2014, 96 mins, DCP)Still from The Two Faces of January
In English, Greek, Turkish with English subtitles
Directed By: Hossein Amini
Producers: Tom Sternberg, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo,
Tim Bricknell, Ron Halpern, Max Minghell
Screenwriters: Hossein Amini
Cinematographer: Marcel Zyskind
Editors: Nicolas Chaudeurge, Jon Harris
Production Design: Michael Carlin
Set Decoration: Dominic Capon
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac
Music: Alberto Iglesias

Watch the trailer

Short Review
This superior directing debut by British-Iranian screenwriter Hossein Amini (The Wings of the Dove, Drive) is a very stylish period thriller. It's based on an old-fashioned novel by Patricia Highsmith whose work has been adapted for numerous films including Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train". The Two Faces of January is set in 1962 across Athens, Crete and Istanbul. The film is a moderate-budget independent feature that charms without excessive violence or special effects. It's a visual feast thanks to the cinematography of Marcel Zyskind. The production design, costumes and makeup are all top-notch. In addition, it features terrific performances from the leading three actors and lots of clever and memorable lines. Fianlly, the movie is smartly edited and has a perfect runtime of 96 minutes (normal attention span). Hence, without a doubt the film got lots of things right.

However, Amini's The Two Faces of January is a typical suspense thriller and not an extraordinary work. Like similar films (Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley, Hitchcock's The Third Man, etc.) it entertains and aims at teaching an important moral lesson. One is reminded of the ten commandments immediately after watching this film. Was justice really served? A private detective is accidentally killed and the couple are guilty of panicking and running away without their passports. Frankly, it's hard to feel that the MacFarlanes deserved their fate. Consequently, the ending of the film is a little implausible. Yet, it's highly recommended because watching this film is a really pleasurable experience. It's worth to watch more than once.

Related Links
The Two Faces of January (IMDB)

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