This film is as close to perfect as it gets, and even a couple of people who seem to have enjoyed as much as me and had no problem sharing with the rest of the audience, couldn't mess up the experience. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, this movie takes us through different locations in Greece, as we follow the adventures of a trio of people who are barely a step ahead of the police and who might turn on each other at any time.
Although the background on the characters is very limited, and we finish the movie, wanting more, trying to figure out what made them the way they are, it's impossible to deny that Highsmith was a masterful weaver of intrigue and suspense. Chester (Viggo) Colette (Kirsten) and Rydal (Oscar) all have issues that make them get closer to father/son/daughter figures. These forces are stronger than the typical sexual restlessness we find in this type of films. Rydal is a man who has escaped from an apparently safe environment to become a predator of tourists in European cities, but when he meets this couple, he is attracted to Chester and eventually Colette. It's difficult to understand what he wants, but it clouds his judgment. An actor like Isaac is capable of giving us this complex portrayal, as we see him torn between staying selfish and being unable to escape from the mess he has become a part of.
Viggo is simply wonderful as the criminal who must now face the consequences of his actions. He has to be one of the unluckiest people on the planet, too because he accidentally kills a detective, and later on, one of the people he cares the most in this world. It is interesting to see the development of his character as he is plagued by so many negative forces, falling apart yet regaining his soul. His is a difficult performance, earning our sympathy in spite of all of his deplorable actions.
Kirsten looks fantastic and is the least developed of the three characters, but she is the light that attracts them and keeps them going. She might be someone who brings out the best in them, but we can see that takes its toll on her, and by the end of the film, it becomes apparent she will snap, leading to some type of catastrophic conclusion. It might spell the end for all of the parties involved.
"January" is a fascinating travelogue because it takes us into a darker part of the human soul while exposing us to exotic locales, and knowing they are in foreign territories makes their ordeal even more powerful, dangerous, mysterious because we know it will be extremely difficult to get out of it if such a thing is even possible. Who will come out on top? Who will lose his/her life.