Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

January in autumn

THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY, 2014. The novel by Patricia Highsmith isn't, franky, one of her top-notch ones, but it makes a serviceable thriller in the hands of Hossein Amini (who also scripted DRIVE and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMEN - still in my pending pile).

The charismatic Chester MacFarland and his alluring younger wife Colette are in Athens during a European vacation, in the early Sixties. While sightseeing at the Acropolis they encounter Rydal, a young Greek-speaking American who is working a a tour guide, scamming tourists onthe side. Drawn to Colette's beauty and impressed by Chester's wealth, Rydal gladly accepts their invitation to dinner. But all is not as it seems with the MacFarlands as Chester's affable exterior hides darker secrets. When Rydal visits the couple at their hotel, events take a more sinister turn as he finds himself compromised and unable to pull free ... Based on the best-selling novel by Patricia Highsmith (author of THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY) and from the producers of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is a tense, psychological thriller, as per the dvd blurb.

Viggo Mortensen, so terrific in EASTERN PROMISES (Viggo label), is rather low key here, until he erupts into action; Kirstin Dunst is perfect as Colette, while Oscar Isaac scores as Rydal - his INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is high in my pending pile, to maybe see this week, after THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and DALLAS BUYERS CLUB ....

Rydal helps Chester dispose of that unwelcome caller, when he arrives at their hotel to return the bangle Colette left in the taxi - events then spiral out of control as our trio move on to Crete, where a disaster happens, and then on to Instanbul, as the serpentine plot unravels. Its the kind of thriller where one cannot reveal too much .... a lot of the key moment though take place in almost darkness and the pace gets too slow ..... but it looks good and is a welcome addition to the Highsmith canon.

1 comment:

  1. It was a nice throwback to the old-fashioned thrillers of yesteryear and well directed and played but a minor Highsmith adaptation for all that. I enjoyed it and will watch it again but not one for the collection.