The Two Faces of January

Posted on October 25, 2014


The Two Faces of January – It’s 1962 in Greece. Young American tour guide/up-and-coming con man with father issues, Rydal, (Oscar Isaac) meets financial swindler Chester McFarland (Viggo Mortensen) and trophy wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst). They connect, partially because Chester reminds Rydal of his father and partially because Rydal is captivated by Colette.

Chester accidentally, or maybe not so accidentally, kills the detective hired by one of his unhappy clients to get his money back. He enlists Oscar’s help in getting them out of the country. When Oscar realizes a murder was committed, Chester convinces him he’s guilty of being an accessory. Chester knows Oscar is attracted to Colette. Colette who is not as innocent as she first appears takes advantage of that attraction. Oscar is caught in a tangle and sees no escaping. As they hide and run, there seems to be a growing respect between the two men. Possibly they see how much alike they are. Possibly it’s a father-son bond. Whatever, it’s a great mystery movie.

You can see a distinct similarity between this and The Talented Mr. Ripley, by the same author Patricia Highsmith. A bit of a film noir – Chester feels Kirk Douglas-ish.