‘The Two Faces of January’ is the directorial debut of acclaimed scriptwriter Hossein Amini.
Best-known for his successful screenplays including the award-winning ‘Drive’, Amini pays homage to the classic 1960s ‘film noir’ with this Patricia Highsmith adaptation, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.
He said it had been a lifelong project:
“Twenty five years, so more than half of my life. When I was a student at university up until now, wanting to get this book made into a film, it has been a long journey, but I think it has made it more worthwhile in a sense, because having to wait for something is great,” said Hossein Amini.
Set in Athens in 1962, ‘The Two Faces of January’ is a psychological thriller that owes its style to Hitchcock and bears unmistakable similarities to another Highsmith adaptation, ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’.
Hossein Amini enjoys the advantage of directing a star-studded cast including Oscar Isaac, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen, who is no stranger to this kind of movie:
“The only thing I would say is that the characters need to lie and lose and it needs to end badly really for everyone. As long as it does that it is acceptable to me as ‘film noir’, no matter where it takes place. And that certainly happens in this movie. And the great thing about these kinds of characters is they always have secrets and that is what the story is generally about, you know. The masks fall away,” said Mortensen at the press conference.
Hossein Amini’s first movie as a director was mostly well received in Berlin, with particular praise for the soundtrack and the lighting.
‘The Two Faces of January’ hits European cinema theatres from now.