In turns enchanting, brooding and cowed like a cornered animal, he [Isaac] plays the perfect James Stewart character in this Hitchcockian homage.
 The narrative is very well-balanced and restrained from the hyperactive traps of modern cinematic storytelling.
 Not so much a morality play as a tale of amorality, this psychological drama makes for a movie that is moody and deeply satisfying.
-Excerpts from IMDB reviews
The principal relationship in this film (referred to as “a reto reworking of film noir” by one viewer) is between two men (one of them married; the other drawn to his wife). Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen) is a rich American touring Greece w/ his younger wife, Colette, (Kirsten Dunst). The man who is intrigued by them is young tour guide, Rydal Keener (Oscar Issac), who is also American (yet able to blend in w/ the locals due to his language skills). Chester reminds Rydal of his father, who recently passed away, and w/ whom he had a difficult relationship. At first, Rydal thinks he has the upper hand; soon he realizes that he may have taken on too much by offering the couple his help. Who is the true con-man here?
Adapted by the director, Hossein Amini (who is British-Iranian), from a novel by Patricia Highsmith (The The Talented Mr. Ripley; Strangers on a Train), this film is an atmospheric, well-acted thriller set in beautiful locations (Athens, Crete, and Istanbul) w/ great (’60s) costumes. Amini knows how to heighten the tension as the film goes on. This film is tightly edited, which adds to its effectiveness. The music fits very well w/ the action, too. You can watch it on Netflix.
3 thoughts on “The Two Faces of January (2014) starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, & Oscar Isaac”
unrelated question — did you see “Lipstick under my Burkha”? If so, what were your thoughts?
No, but few of my friends did (at DC film fest). Will have to look up where it’s available…
I just saw it on a “best of 2017” list and I’m definitely curious!