The Calling / The Two Faces of January (2014)
A twin review.
Genre : Thriller
Country : USA
Susan Sarandon : Hazel Micallef
Gil Bellows : Ray Green
Ellen Burstyn : Emily Micallef
Director : Jason Stone
Detective Hazel Micallef hasn’t had much to worry about in the sleepy town of Fort Dundas until a string of gruesome murders in the surrounding countryside brings her face to face with a serial killer driven by a higher calling.
“The Calling” is a thriller about a religious serial killer. Just as “Frozen Ground” it takes place on Canadian territory. Despite the star cast (Susan Sarandon, Donald Sutherland and Topher Grace), this film is just a mediocre movie that certainly doesn’t reach the level of “Silence of the Lambs“. Hazel Micallef (Susan Sarandon) is a detective in a tiny little village where criminals apparently don’t show up, because it’s totally crime-free. Micallef has her own personal problems with alcohol and pills playing an eminent role and making her spend more time next to the bed than in it. The retrieval of an old woman with a surgically precise slit throat, is the start of a thorough investigation that leads to a serial killer who bases his actions on an old religious story. Micallef, her colleague Ray (Gil Bellows) and newcomer Ben Wingate (Topher Grace) face a difficult task to solve this. Topher plays again such a role that the sad expression on his face comes in handy. And Sutherland acts in his familiar style and explains the entire case as a Santa-like priest. Consequently the culprit is known very early in this film and there isn’t much tension left anymore. So Simon (Christopher Heyerdahl) is introduced: a charismatic and imposing character, entirely in black and with a perfectly trimmed gray beard. He has such an appearance so you immediately get the feeling that he’s a reborn Jesus character. Ultimately, this turns out to be just a mediocre TV movie, with nice outdoor shots and downright no tension. There was just a tiny difference to other movies about serial killers, that made it stand out (But you have to watch it to figure that one out). Perhaps the denouement can still provide some sensation. For me it was rather measly insignificant and predictable.
My rating 5.5/10
Links : IMDB
The two faces of January
Genre : Thriller
Country : USA
Cast :Kirsten Dunst : Colette MacFarland
Viggo Mortensen : Chester MacFarland
Oscar Isaac : Rydal
Director : Hossein Amini
A glamorous American couple, the charismatic Chester MacFarland and his alluring younger wife Colette, arrive in Athens by boat. While sightseeing at the Acropolis they encounter Rydal, a young, Greek-speaking American who is working as a tour guide, scamming tourists on the side. Drawn to Colette’s beauty and impressed by Chester’s wealth and sophistication, Rydal gladly accepts their invitation to dinner. However, all is not as it seems with the MacFarlands and Chester’s affable exterior hides darker secrets.
A slightly above average desert sand colored crime thriller, you immediately associate with a solid Hitchcock mixed with elements of an Agatha Christie novel. The rich American couple Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and Colette (Kirsten Dunst) are on vacation in Europe and meet in sunny Greece the American guide Rydal (Oscar Isaac) who isn’t afraid to swindle people on a small scale. He offers Chester and Colette a guided tour through the city. Eventually, the couple also doesn’t appear to be innocent and after Chester killed a fairly intrusive private investigator, Rydal offers its services to help. What follows is a psychological jousting in which jealousy and a budding romance plays a central role. A stylishly filmed psychological thriller, with excellent performances and a subtle captured escape from Athens to Heraklion and eventually ending up in Istanbul. In terms of content, the whole isn’t really that big of a deal and I was expecting something more from this movie. A story in which a small crook helps an even bigger crook and becomes trapped in a psychological love triangle. Beautifully filmed, evocative at times, but ultimately a bit dull and ordinary despite the charismatic performances. Hossein Amini, who wrote the scenarios for “Drive” and “47 Ronin“, fails to create the same tension as in “Drive“. Maybe a tiny recommendation : why not direct a self-written scenario …
My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB