Hossein Amini is one big question mark we’re still waiting on an answer for. On the one hand, he wrote one of the most deceptively simple crime thrillers of the past decade, Drive. On the other, his Hollywood paychecks have come from works like the comparatively dour and humorless Snow White and the Huntsman and 47 Ronin. It’s tough to know where to stand on Amini yet, but I get the feeling we’ll get a somewhat sure answer in the form of The Two Faces of January, his directorial debut quite promisingly adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name.
The film stars Viggo Mortensen as a con artist traveling with his wife, played by Kirsten Dunst, when they get caught up in the murder of a police officer and must seek assistance from a helpful stranger played by Oscar Isaac. Given Highsmith’s pedigree, expect intense turns along the way, but what can we expect from Amini’s direction? Based on the trailer, he’s evidently got less obvious flair than Nicolas Winding Refn, but the smooth polish of their collaboration seems to have rubbed off on him. If not as stylistically beguiling, we can still hope for an enticing and involving thriller, particularly as it gives Drive supporting player Oscar Isaac a chance at the charming stranger role that was inhabited enticingly by Gosling in that previous Amini-penned film.
The film just had its premiere at Berlin Film Festival, so we’ll be hearing them sound off on it pretty soon. From what we can see, though, it looks like Amini’s found a pleasing niche for his style of propulsive action writing. The crew includes Alberto Iglesias as composer, and while we don’t hear any of his music, the trailer is given a suitably intense backbone by an excerpt from Clint Mansell’s Black Swan score. Until we can get an embed of it, you can check out the trailer for yourself here.