Jeff Nichols’s new sci-fi thriller, ‘Midnight Special,’ is like a masterclass in mood and style.
Guilt is a powerful motivator. Its nagging voice can corrupt even the noblest of intentions. In the case of The Two Faces of January, a son’s guilt leads him into a questionable alliance in which he becomes inextricably trapped. There are twists and turns, jealousy and lust, but the real pleasure of a film like this is watching how far people will go to silence those nagging voices. Even if it means losing everything they care about.
Patricia Highsmith is one of those authors whose body of work the film industry just can’t stop panning for gold. The Two Faces of January is the latest adaptation of one of her books, and it ticks off most of the drinking game check marks we’ve come to expect from her stories: a vivid locale, desire that turns deadly, antagonists bound together by circumstance, numerous double-crosses, and a general mood of darkness in the soul. This is also the directorial debut of Hossein Amini, whose genre screenplays (Drive, Snow White and the Huntsman, 47 Ronin) have become a hot Hollywood commodity in recent years. With the help of a capable crew, Hossein has helmed a thoroughly capable film.