The Irish Mail on Sunday
married off to her first cousin, Camille (Tom Felton), a sickly boy who doesn’t appear to have a libidinous bone in his body.
When Madame, Camille and Thérèse move to Paris and Camille is reunited with his childhood friend, Laurent – now a handsome young man – it’s soon clear that human nature is about to take its predictable course.
Thérèse and Laurent (Oscar Isaac) begin a passionate affair, which actor-turned-director Stratton provides energetic evidence of at regular intervals. But we’re pretty sure that love is not going to end happily.
It’s a familiar tale but a good one, but it’s the acting that impresses here. Lange maybe gives it a little too much as Madame while Felton gives a properly eyecatching performance as the delicate Camille.
But this is Olsen’s film and, for her growing band of admirers, well worth catching. Isaac also stars in The Two
Faces Of January, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel of murder, intrigue and shifting psychological power. Set in 1962 and featuring a cool blonde, a dead private detective and an urgent strings-driven score, this is a film that brings Alfred Hitchcock to mind. But while writer-director Hossein Amini plays due homage, he struggles to make the same dramatic impact.
Isaac plays Rydal, a goodlooking young American who’s scraping a living as a tour guide in Athens, gently conning gullible female tourists who come his way. Colette MacFarland, nicely played by Kirsten Dunst, catches his eye and seems to enjoy Rydal’s attention, but her instantly suspicious husband, Chester (Viggo Mortensen), is quite another matter. Very soon Rydal finds himself wanted for murder.
A combination of conmen and the period setting brings to mind another Highsmith adaptation,
The Talented Mr Ripley. But one can’t entirely dispel the impression that Amini’s had to make a thin Highsmith plot go a rather long way.