In THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY, Chester is a high-level swindler and has stolen a great deal of money from clients through phony investment plans. He and his wife, Collette, are vacationing in Athens with the help of Rydal, their American tour guide. A private investigator catches up to Chester and demands payment on behalf of clients Chester’s robbed. The investigator pulls out a gun, and the men fight. During the struggle, the investigator hits his head dies. Colette and Rydal are completely innocent but forced into running from the police along with Chester. After many close calls and another tragic death, Chester is forced to stop running.
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is excellently written and has great performances from its lead actors. The worldview of THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is strongly moral. Chester makes many wrong choices that he attempts to cover up, but in the end he finally has no option but to admit his immoral behavior, crimes and mistakes. A strong caution is advised for THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY due to brief foul language and some violence.
(BB, L, V, S, AA, D, MM) Strong moral worldview of one man working to save a couple and a morality lesson of another man learning that he cannot hide from his crimes or sins; five obscenities and one profanity; action violence and domestic dispute leading to two accidental deaths, man shot and killed; two characters kiss on a bed but are interrupted, and there’s a question about whether a married woman committed adultery; no nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; heavy cigarette smoking; and, domestic disputes, lying stealing, blackmail, jealousy, man is framed, and people flee police arrest, but some rebuked.
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is a thriller set in 1962 in Greece, where an American tour guide gets involved with a woman and her husband, a high level swindler who’s accidentally killed a private investigator hired by one of the husband’s victims. Based on a novel by acclaimed writer Patricia Highsmith, THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is an excellent morality tale, but some caution is required.
Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and Colette MacFarland (Kirsten Dunst) are a wealthy couple on vacation touring the Parthenon in Athens in 1962. While visiting, they meet Rydal who is estranged from his father before he recently died. Rydal (Oscar Isaac), a bit of a charlatan, is fluent in English and becomes the couple’s translator and guide during their stay in Greece. Rydal charges them more as he barters on their behalf, but is otherwise harmless. After showing them the town, the couple leaves Rydal and returns to their lavish hotel for their last night in Athens. Rydal realizes Colette has left her bracelet in the cab and goes to their hotel to return it.
Chester, a high level swindler, has stolen a great deal of money from clients with phony investment plans. He’s been discovered by a private investigator that speaks with him on behalf of some of his clients Chester has robbed. The investigator pulls out a gun and demands payment. As the men struggle, Chester hits the detective who hits his head as he falls and dies. When Rydal unexpectedly shows up to return the bracelet, Chester lies and tells Rydal the man was only drunk. Soon Rydal discovers that Chester and Colette are on the run due to Chester stealing from his clients. Now caught in the middle of Chester and Colette’s mess, Rydal is forced to help them escape from Chester’s dangerous client.
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is an excellent morality tale and suspense thriller. It is well written. Also, the picturesque cinematography brilliantly uses light and shadow, and there’s beautiful footage of Greece. The acting by Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac is superb and the growing tension between their relationships adds a level of intensity to the story as it drives forward. Mortensen superbly presents the dichotomy of his character’s evil flaws, and even his good intentions that often lead to tragic mistakes.
The worldview of THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is strongly moral. Chester makes many wrong choices that he attempts to cover up, and he tries to deny the consequences of his actions, but in the end he finally has no option but to accept his immoral behavior, crimes and mistakes. Strong caution is advised due to brief foul language and some violence.
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