Preview Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac in The Two Faces of January

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The stylish novels of Patricia Highsmith lend themselves particularly well to cinematic adaptation, becoming equally stylish thrillers like Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train and Rene Clement’s Purple Noon as well as Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, both based on the novel of that name. Now comes Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January.
Amini, the talented writer of Drive and Snow White and The Huntsman, among many others, makes his directorial debut with this film, a passion project he’s been trying to get made for more than fifteen years. He and producer Tom Sternberg finally secured the participation of Studio Canal and Working Title, with the help of the box office appeal of their leading players, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and the suddenly white-hot Oscar Isaac, and the cameras rolled in August 2012.

1962. A glamorous American couple, the charismatic Chester MacFarland (Mortensen) and his alluring younger wife Colette (Dunst), arrive in Athens by boat via the Corinth Canal. While sightseeing at the Acropolis they encounter Rydal (Isaac), a young, Greek-speaking American who is working as a tour guide, scamming tourists on the side. Drawn to Colette’s beauty and impressed by Chester’s wealth and sophistication, Rydal gladly accepts their invitation to dinner. However, all is not as it seems with the MacFarlands and Chester’s affable exterior hides darker secrets. When Rydal visits the couple at their exclusive hotel, Chester presses him to help move the body of a seemingly unconscious man who he claims attacked him. In the moment, Rydal agrees but as events take a more sinister turn he finds himself compromised and unable to pull himself free. His increasing infatuation with the vulnerable and responsive Colette gives rise to Chester’s jealousy and paranoia, leading to a tense and dangerous battle of wits between the two men.

Glamor, style, intrigue, sun-soaked locations, beautiful people… As Viggo Mortensen says in one of the featurettes below, The Two Faces of January looks the way movies used to look. I’m in.
If the ingénue looks familiar, it’s because she looks exactly like her mother, Joely Richardson. Daisy Bevan, whose father is producer Tim Bevan of Working Title, third generation acting royalty (Grandma is Vanessa Redgrave), doesn’t quite make her debut with this film, since she had bit parts as a child in both Elizabeth and The Affair of the Necklace, but it is her first  film role as an adult.
The Two Faces of January also features a cast of international actors as well as the gorgeous locations in Greece and Turkey where it was shot.
Starting with its gala premiere at the 2014 Berlinale in February, the film has played festivals all over the world and opened in the UK on May 16. If it makes sense that The November Man opens in August, I guess it makes sense that The Two Faces of January will open in theaters in the US on October 3. (Also On Demand August 28)

If you’re still on the fence, take a look at these clips and featurettes. They verge on spoilers, but they also reinforce the idea that Amini has given us a neo-noir worthy of our time and attention.
Featurette #1

Featurette #2

Featurette #3

Clip #1

Clip #2

Clip #3

“Ready For This?”

"Let’s find out…"

We are officially mere days away from the US Premiere of X-Men: First Class and reviews, which  have been overwhelmingly favorable, are EVERYWHERE, as are interviews with the cast. It seems that every movie site on the web has managed an "exclusive", not to mention high profile sit downs, either collectively with the likes of Matt Lauer on the "Today Show" or singularly as with James McAvoy on Letterman or January Jones on Leno. The promotion machine has been cranking overtime for this film.  Let’s face it, there have been high hopes for Matthew Vaughn’s fourth film (yes that’s right, this is only his fourth film and every one that preceded it has been a gem) right from its announcement. It must be gratifying for all involved that there is so much positive buzz going in to next Friday, June 3rd’s release and that it’s not just the fanboys and comic book nerds who are salivating.

I do have to wonder if the two actors at the center of the film, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, really know what they’re in for and how much their lives are about to change.  Both actors have recently talked about their lack of notoriety and the fact that they can walk down the street unnoticed.  No sooner had they said that than paparazzi shots of McAvoy leaving his hotel in London turned up on the web.

And today, Just Jared posted pap shots of Michael Fassbender and his ‘girlfriend’ and XMFC castmate, Zoe Kravitz (well, she’s a girl and I’m willing to concede they are friends. Anything else…*la la la I cannnn’t heeearr youuuu.*) walking the streets of New York City.  ‘So what?’ you say? Well, click on his name and all you get are promo shots from a movie or a movie premiere or a photo shoot.  This is the first time he’s been "papped" just for being out living his life.   I guarantee it will not be the last.

This film is going to be huge. If Fassbender thought his life would change by appearing in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and I’m sure it did to some extent, since then he’s worked with directors like David Cronenberg and Steven Soderbergh and is currently working with Sir Ridley Scott, to name a few, but Inglourious Basterds was rated R and Tarantino is not everyone’s cuppa, and while he stole his scenes, Fassbender was only in three. This time around he’s truly one of the stars of a major summer tentpole film, rated PG-13 and directed by the man who gave us Stardust.  Mom, Dad and the kids will be seeing this one.

There certainly is an upside to this impending notoriety: A Dangerous Method, in which Fassbender plays Carl Jung to Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud, still has no US release date, Soderbergh’s Haywire is listed on imdb.com vaguely as August 2011.  I want very much to see these films. I’m hoping that huge numbers for XMFC and the spotlight that is only just beginning to find Michael Fassbender will spill over to these films as well.  If I have to lose him to the masses, then I hope that it will mean people will seek out his back catalog and new viewers will watch and appreciate films like Fish Tank and Hunger, even Eden Lake, and that little known mini-series like "The Devil’s Whore" will get a full blown dvd release.

The downside is that he won’t be anonymous anymore. The masses will be aware of him and the masses must be appeased lest they grow bored and move on to the next big thing.

And so it begins…