Rydal (Oscar Isaac) is an American working as a tour guide in Greece. He meets the fascinating couple Colette (Kirsten Dunst) and Chester Macfarland (Viggo Mortensen) and is immediately drawn to them. But there is something to the Macfarlands that isn’t quite right and Rydal soon finds himself in deeper than he thought.
The Two Faces of January has an excellent cast and a charming old-timey setting but nothing in this film actually works as it should.
The Two Faces of January does capture the (cinematic) atmosphere of the time. The movie does feel and look like it’s straight from the 50s/60s. But that in itself does not make a good film and nostalgia alone certainly isn’t enough to carry this film.
The problem is that the film is not only old-fashioned, the story is outdated. It doesn’t work anymore, maybe it never did. But I was alternatively bored and shaking my head incredulously at how stupid some characters can be just to stretch a plot. And it all culminates in an ending that that made me want to punch something it was so unbelievably stupid.
I also had problems rooting for a character. I think my best chances would have been with Colette, but unfortunately the script doesn’t actually give her a personality. Instead she is mostly a chip in the game the guys are playing with each other. And both guys aren’t particularly nice and sympathetic.Which is a pity because the cast was good – they could have done a lot with their characters if the script had been any better.
But it isn’t. And the best cast and the prettiest cinematography (as in this film) won’t hide a boring and bland script.