Two Men in Town Trailer: Forest Whitaker vs. Harvey Keitel

By  · Published on January 29th, 2015

Cohen Media Group

It’s been 20 years since Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel shared a movie – Wayne Wang’s Smoke — and if I remember correctly, they don’t share the screen in it. Now they’re finally truly united in the remake Two Men in Town, in which they appear together in many scenes – but it’s not a friendly union, at all. Whitaker plays a man who returns to town after getting out of prison, a role filled by Alain Delon in the 1973 original. In the French film, though, the ex-con is a safecracker, while this time he’s a cop killer. Keitel’s part is the local sheriff (an inspector, played by Michel Bouquet, the last time), who can’t just forget that the guy shot down his deputy, no matter how reformed he seems to be.

As seen in the trailer for the new version, it’s all about those two characters, the sheriff stalking and harassing the reappeared man, who is just trying to make a fresh start for himself with his newfound religion and a new love interest (Dolores Heredia), and his parole officer (Brenda Blethyn, hardly seen in the marketing) is helping him do that. Interestingly, the 1973 version was all about the re-pairing of Delon and Jean Gabin, who played the Blethyn part 42 years ago. This one is surely concerned with racial profiling, but primarily it appears to be about the difficulty of forgiveness for such a terrible crime, regardless of who committed it. Also in the movie are Luis Guzman, who plays the leader of Whitaker’s old gang, and Ellen Burstyn, as Whitaker’s adoptive mother.

Two Men in Town debuted a year ago at the Berlin Film Festival, where it was met with a less-than-glorious reception. I can’t find many reviews in English, though, so I’m not sure what the problems could be. The movie, which is co-scripted and directed by Rachid Bouchareb (London River), looks pretty good from this first trailer, especially as a battle between the two great actors. We’ll have a chance to see for ourselves come March 6th, when it hits theaters and iTunes in the US.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.