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'The Two Faces Of January' Little More Than A Breezy, Light Romp
The Two Faces Of January sets its tone right off the bat, when we're introduced to two-thirds of the film's love triangle, Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst), as sharply-dressed, beautiful, scam-artist Americans on a getaway in Greece as they walk the steps of the Acropolis. Almost within earshot is a tour guide we soon learn is also a two-bit hustler, Rydal (Oscar Isaac), who gets entangled with the couple in a zig-zagging plot that is par for any story adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel. At its best, The Two Faces Of January is a breezy, sleek thriller with beautiful people hopping between beautiful locales.
Unfortunately the film, the directorial debut of screenwriter Hossein Amini (Drive), is so precise in its delivery that it leaves what should be a yarn full of intrigue devoid of personality. Mortensen and Isaac deliver fine performances as two men in what feels like a merely obligatory Oedipal plot, but Dunst is left with very little to work with in a story that hardly regards her as much more than a plot device. What could be a more interesting, weightier film ultimately is a mere trifle.
The Two Faces Of January is now in theaters.