It’s a little disconcerting to see Oscar Isaac in a 1960s period piece and find him without cat, guitar, or mop of overly cynical dark brown curls. Yet that’s exactly what lies within The Two Faces of January: an Isaac who’s cleanly shaven and clearly takes care of his hair. Also, he’s a tour guide in Greece who occasionally cons his customers out of their cash.
And it’s in Greece where Rydal, Isaac’s character, will happen upon Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst), an American couple who happen to be doing a little conning of their own. One murder later and they’re all tangled up in each others’ various crimes; forcing Rydal and the happy(ish) couple to go on the lam together. Intrigue, sexual tension and gun violence ensue.
Based off a novel by Patricia Highsmith (the author whose previous work became Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley) and adapted by Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini (who’s also making his directing debut), The Two Faces of January has enough talent on board to guarantee some twisty turny entertainment. The cast boasts the same pedigree, even if it looks like a healthy portion of the film is nothing but the two male leads making goo-goo eyes at Kirsten Dunst. So yes, the title sounds a little like a romance novel, and yes, if a character begs “please don’t shoot me,” the following words probably won’t be “into outer space.” But at least it looks like a fun ride. Watch the trailer below, courtesy of Empire.
The Two Faces of January hits the Berlinale today before seeing European theaters this Spring.