I am not quite sure what really drew me to this movie, I hadn’t really heard much about it and only saw a couple of the trailers. So from my knowledge of the film I wasn’t particularly intrigued however I had then later heard some musings saying that The Two Faces of January was a good wee thriller and I love a thriller so I went for it!
Set in 1962 in Greece The Two Faces of January certainly looked the part. The scenery throughout the movie was great and even down to the details in costume design, these really helped to create the right atmosphere for this era and meant that it was always a pleasure to watch this movie as its surroundings were that captivating. All three of the leads were great, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac. They all carried their performances well and contributed perfectly to the tone of the movie. It was interesting to see the relationships between the three play out even if it was fairly predictable. At times it was often hard to know who to sympathize with – I love when this happens in films, it really adds something new for the viewers to think about and it effects how you respond to events in the story.
Despite a lack of much happening for a lot of the film, The Two Faces of January never becomes boring or a chore to watch. There are several scenes of suspense featured however it certainly could have done with a few more. What was on show was good there just wasn’t enough of it. The Two Faces of January could have had a few more scenes like this as its run time was only 96 minutes. Certainly the decision to have Dunst’s character Colette die was a game changer and I wasn’t expecting it, the sequences which follow this event are good and take a step up which was a welcome change in pace. However if they could have been teased slightly more I think it would have been even more effective although what we get is still really good. The ending was unexpected, I honestly didn’t think that Chester (Mortensen) would have confessed to framing Rydal (Isaac) and almost wish he hadn’t. It certainly would have been a more sinister ending but I think that it could have worked here. Despite this I still thoroughly enjoyed this movie the whole way through and with a few additions it could have been fantastic. I would describe The Two Faces of January as an understated thriller that is easily enjoyable but it does lack a bit of punch. All the same a wonderful effort by all involved and this is sure to be one that I will re-watch in the future.
BIGGEST FLAW – Needed a few more scenes of suspense
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – The look of the film
Rating – 8/10