By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 17, 2014 at 9:24AM
While currently in the thick of the Sundance Film Festival, which is in full swing today, we're keeping one eye on the Berlin Film Festival where in a just a few weeks, a whole new batch of movies will arrive to command our attention. Today organizers have revealed a strong handful of new movies set to be unveiled as part of Berlinale Special sidebar and Panorama.
Among the highlights are: David O. Russell's Oscar contender "American Hustle," Diego Luna directed biopic "Cesar Chavez," acclaimed Canadian documentary "Watermark" and Aussie omnibus "The Turning." But for our purposes we're turning our attention to two films in particular: "Two Faces Of January" and "A Long Way Down." Below you'll find more info on those two films and on the next page, the full list of Berlinale and Paranorma additions.
The former is one we've been waiting a while for, simply because of the talent involved: it's the directorial debut of "Drive" writer Hossein Amini, based on the book by Patricia Highsmith, scored by Alberto Iglesias and starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac. Pretty great, right? Here's the official synopsis followed by some new images from the film:
1962. A glamorous American couple, the charismatic CHESTER MACFARLAND (Mortensen) and his alluring younger wife COLETTE (Dunst), arrive in Athens by boat via the Corinthian Canal. While sightseeing at the Acropolis they encounter RYDAL (Isaac), 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. When Rydal visits the couple at their exclusive hotel, Chester presses him to help move the body of a seemingly unconscious man who he claims attacked him. In the moment, Rydal agrees but as events take a more sinister turn he finds himself compromised and unable to pull himself free. His increasing infatuation with the vulnerable and responsive Colette gives rise to Chester’s jealousy and paranoia, leading to a tense and dangerous battle of wits between the two men. Their journey takes them from Greece to Turkey, and to a dramatic finale played out in the back alleys of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.
As for "A Long Way Down," it's based on the book by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”), stars Pierce Brosnan,Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots and kicks off when four strangers meet on top of a London skyscraper on New Year’s Eve. What brings them there? They all wanted to commit suicide, but instead decide to stick around help each other out. New images from the movie below.