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NY1 Movie Review: 'The Two Faces of January'

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A new thriller set in Greece in 1962 stars Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Issac. It's called "The Two Faces of January." NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.

Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Issac team up in a new thriller set during the early 1960's in Southern Greece. It's called The Two Faces Of January.

Issac plays a small time scam artist who's living in Greece and working as a tour guide.

Mortensen and Dunst are a wealthy American couple who first meet Issac when they're visiting the famed ruins.

This well mannered couple are not at all what they first appear to be, though. Mortensen is a big time confidence man. So when a private detective catches up with him, demanding the money that was stolen from his clients, a murder takes place.

Looking to get out of the country as quickly as possible, they enlist Issac's help to secure fake passports. Soon all three of them find themselves entangled in this crime and wind up on the run.

The movie is based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, who also wrote "The Talented Mr. Ripley" along with "Strangers On A Train," which was the basis for my favorite Hitchcock movie. This film—by first time director Hossein Amini, who also wrote the screenplay—is basically a Hitchcock wannabe.

The film has an old fashioned vibe to it and the cinematography, costumes and production design are spot on, nicely capturing the flavor of the time and place.

Viggo Mortensen is excellent playing a drunk who's spinning out of control, and it's unlike anything I've seen him do before. I was also impressed with Oscar Isaac's 180-degree turn from his fine work in "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Dunst on the other hand, lends little to the proceedings. Plus a romantic subplot between her and Issac's character isn't satisfactorily fleshed out.

The screenplay, which is mildly suspenseful for a while, slows down considerably halfway through and completely falls apart by the end.

Despite it's deficiencies, it's fun for a bit—which is why I'm recommending this for an On Demand rental, where it currently can be found, as opposed to paying full price at the box office.

Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 2.5 Apples

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