New Patricia Highsmith Adaptation

two-faces-of-january-poster-berlin  The Two Faces of January

A rave in The Telegraph for The Two Faces of January, starring Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on Monday, will frustrate U.S. audiences. The movie is scheduled for release in the U.K. in May, but there is no U.S. release date yet. The reviewer calls it “the best Patricia Highsmith adaptation since The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) … an elegantly pleasurable period thriller, a film of tidy precision and class … a treat to look at and listen to, evoking a lot of old-fashioned movie virtues, and showing us a lush but suspenseful good time.”

The Hollywood Reporter tamps down that enthusiasm, “it’s unlikely that the directing debut of screenwriter Hossein Amini (Jude, Drive) is going to knock The Talented Mr. Ripley from its pedestal in the Highsmith pantheon, or even jar it slightly. Still the production … is truly lush and the actors … almost too subtle and nuanced for the roles they play. The result is easy viewing that should have a nice small screen life after Studio Canal releases theatrically in the UK, France, Australia and related territories.”

Grove Press will release a new trade paperback edition of the book in June (new cover above, right), part of a program to reissue all the Highsmith books in their catalog.

For an appreciation of Highsmith’s work, see Jonathan Lethem’s Washington Post review of the  2009 biography of the author.

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