Arts & Entertainment

The Two Faces Of January

Fleeing a fraudulent past, Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortenson) and his younger wife (Kirsten Dunst) meet a lesser scammer Rydal Keener (Oscar Isaac) in ’60s Greece.

The script is from Patricia Highsmith’s 1964 story, written nine years after The Talented Mr Ripley.

Accomplished screenwriter Hossein Amini should be given more chances to direct, but this debut is not all it could have been. Good performances from the leads are wasted in a production that lacks dynamics and tension.

In particular, Mortenson’s performance hints at complexities of character which are never fully realised by the script.

It is all a bit flat; Hitchcock would have done it better (and did: in 1951’s Strangers on a Train – another Highsmith story). (MMu)

** /5


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