The trailer for The Two Faces of January, a new film starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst, has been released in anticipation of its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this week. The movie is an adaptation of a novel by Patricia Highsmith, who also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley. If you were a fan of that ominous tale of envy, obsession, and murder, then this story promises a similar smorgasbord. If you read “Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst” and just skipped to the trailer, then great. I would’ve done the same.
January revolves around a tense love triangle – or what looks like more of a longing triangle – between a married couple and their tour guide in 1960s Greece. Mortensen is the tan and husky-voiced husband, while Dunst stars as the glittering blond wife. Fresh off his success in Inside Llewyn Davis, Oscar Isaac plays the devilishly handsome tour guide who gets swept into the couple’s marital troubles, namely fraud and murder. Hossein Amini, the screenwriter behind Drive and Snow White & the Huntsmen, will try his hand at directing for the first time. (I hope this project leans toward Amini’s work on Drive and not toward The Four Feathers. RIP Heath Ledger; you were great in everything.) But really how bad could January be with those three actors starring? I’m sold already.
If you’re wondering about the title. It relates to the two-faced Roman god Janus (whose name is the derivation of January). Janus is the god of gates and doors, beginnings and endings. He symbolizes change and transition. In this movie, I’m thinking Janus represents the devolution of these characters from seemingly civilized people into wretched survivalists. But maybe that’s just my flashback to Drive.
The film doesn’t have U.S. distribution, so there’s no release information yet.