THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY | MOVIE REVIEW

So Aragorn also looks hot in a suit, who would have thought? 🙂 I keep reading mixed reviews on this one. Kernel Andrew’s wife saw this one at the Sydney Film Festival and was not a fan, her description was “boring and lifeless”. Kernel Nick Stanbrook reviewed it at the media screening and enjoyed, but did not love it. It is actually out now from STUDIOCANAL and is rated M, running for 96mins. From what I have seen putting this together, it just looks beautiful, already for me, without viewing, winning on cinematography and acting, but from the kernels, it is lacking in soul. I can see the similarities to THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY and will definitely be seeing this on Blu Ray when it releases. You do not have to wait, it is out now in art house cinemas. Enjoy Kernel Nick’s thoughts below………all the best…..JK.

 

THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY NICK STANBROOK

The writer of Drive, Hossein Amini, makes his directorial debut with THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY. A Charming thriller set in 1960’s Greece, following the story of small time con artist Rydal (Oscar Isaac) as he gets caught up in the life of big time con artist Chester McFarland (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst).

Based on the novel written by Patricia Highsmith, the author of THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, another charming 1960’s thriller.THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY and THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY, are stylistically similar and have been adapted from their source text in similar fashions.

 

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THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | RYDAL (OSCAR ISAAC) and LAUREN (DAISY BEVAN)

 

The acting in this film is superb. Oscar Issac is brilliant. Viggo Mortensen is brilliant. Their interactions on screen are mesmerising and they are the driving force of the film. Kirsten Dunst isn’t left behind either, she is beautifully innocent in this film and does an excellent job of portraying her struggle.

Rydal and Chester are really well written characters, coupled with the brilliant acting, the characters are well rounded, deep and complex. Throughout the film the unspoken tension between Rydal and Chester is enchanting. You lock onto every word they say as their mistrust for each other deepens, while maintaining a facade of trust.

Not just a well written and well acted film, it is beautiful. Everything from the costuming and set design to the landscape and people. It all looks amazing. It definitely makes me want to smoke cigars and walk around the Greek islands in a white suit, and also live in the 1960’s.

 

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THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | CHESTER (VIGGO MORTENSEN) AND COLETTE (KIRSTEN DUNST) MACFARLAND

 

The story has its twists and turns, it was engaging and had me guessing. Yet it alluded to something bigger. Throughout the film, their were what felt like subtle hints to a larger story. Something beyond the immediate toil of our protagonists. Early on, Rydal’s father is spoken of, and how Rydal didn’t make it home for the funeral. He goes on to tell Chester that he is like his father, and Chester acts awkwardly around these questions. This along with some lacking backstory, particularly about Chester and his dealings, leaves us feeling like there is something missing. I kept waiting for the big reveal, of what these hints had pointed to. Waiting for Rydal’s father to actually be Chester, or something to that end.

Although I was left feeling like I was missing some part of the story, the movie was still enjoyable. The film wasn’t lost because of it. It left me uneasy afterwards, particularly thinking about the film later, and going through the events. Yet the ending was good, it wrapped things up nicely within the story, and was enough, considering the events that had transpired.

The films charm really pulls it out of being an alright film, into a good film. It would have been a great film except for those little hints of something bigger, that never came into fruition. Unless i’m too dull to have realised what it all meant, in that case I take it all back.  It is charming, tense and engaging, yet missing something. I certainly don’t know what it is missing, but something at least.

 

KERNEL NICK’S POP SCORE: 

3 Pops

KERNEL ANDREW’S WIFE, TEGAN’S POP SCORE (she described the film as lifeless and boring): 

2 and a Half Pops