"The Two Faces of January" is 'unique'

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Tom Ripley (Damon) is a bright and charismatic sociopath who makes his way in mid-'50s New York City as a men's room attendant and sometimes pianist, though his real skill is in impersonating other people, forging handwriting, and running second-rate scams. After being mistaken for a Princeton student, Tom meets the shipping tycoon father of Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), who has traveled to the coast of Italy, where he's living a carefree life with his father's money and his beautiful girlfriend, Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow). Dickie's father will pay Ripley 1,000 dollars plus his expenses if he can persuade Dickie to return to America. As Ripley and Dickie become friends, Tom finds himself both attracted to Dickie and envious of his life of pleasure. In time, he decides that he would rather be Dickie Greenleaf than Tom Ripley, so rather than go back to his life of poverty, Ripley impulsively takes matters into his own hands.
May 17th, 2014

Hossein Amini thinks 'The Two Faces of January' is a unique crime-thriller.

The screenwriter makes his directorial debut with the film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel of the same name and he's revealed he's wanted to adapt it for the big screen ever since he read the story at university because it has such an interesting dynamic.

Speaking at a press conference for the film at London's Corinthia Hotel, he told BANG Showbiz: ''I've always liked crime thrillers. But this was a crime thriller about, I thought, three very ordinary characters who we could have met and are very much like us.

''They're thrown into this world of crime and the damage they do is to themselves. It wasn't to outside forces like policemen or criminals or whatever. It was really watching this intimate triangle.''

Highsmith - who wrote a number of popular crime-thriller novels including 'Strangers on a Train' and 'The Talented Mr. Ripley before she passed away in 1995 - struggled to get 'The Two Faces of January' published for the exact reason Hossein was attracted to the story.

Referencing a quote from one of the publishers who rejected the novel, he said: ''A story can handle two neurotic characters but not three.''

The ''neurotic'' characters in question are the wealthy Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen), his younger wife Colette MacFarland (Kirsten Dunst) and Rydal (Oscar Isaac), who all become embroiled in the murder of a private investigator.