Born in Iran, Amini relocated with his family to England when he was 11 years of age. A devoted cinema fan, he cemented his decision to make a career in the business after writing, directing and co-starring in the crime-themed short "Catch" (1989) while studying at Oxford. Amini's professional screenwriting debut came in 1992 with the telefilm "Dying of the Light" (ITV), about the murder of UNICEF aid worker Sean Devereaux in Somalia. The project earned him and director Peter Kosminsky a BAFTA Television nomination for Best Single Drama. The success of the film led to more opportunities in features and television, including the screenplay for "Jude" (1997), director Michael Winterbottom's adaptaion of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. The following year, Amini adapted the Henry James novel The Wings of the Dove for director Iain Softley. The costume drama, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Linus Roache, was a major arthouse hit for its American distributors at Miramax, and earned both Academy Award and Writers Guild of America nominations for Amini. Now firmly established as a screenwriting talent, Amini moved between mainstream Hollywood projects and independent and foreign dramas for most of the first decade of the new millennium. He was among a group of writers, including Mark Pellington and Bruce Joel Rubin, who worked on Shekhar Kapur's 2002 version of "The Four Feathers," and contributed, though uncredited, to the screenplay for "The Gangs of New York" (2002) for Martin Scorsese. In 2005, he penned the script for "Killshot" (2008), an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's crime novel of the same name, but the project underwent numerous revisions and release delays until The Weinstein Company sent the film directly to DVD in 2009. The following year, Amini wrote the script for "Shanghai" (2010), a crime picture set in China but lensed in Thailand and starring Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li and John Cusack. Amini rebounded the following year with "Drive" (2011), Nicolas Winding Refn's loose adaptation of the crime novel by James Sallis. Refn and Amini stripped away much of the source material and organized it into a more linear narrative, which earned critical praise from numerous critical organizations, including a Best Adapted Screenplay from the Austin Film Critics Association. He then returned to script doctoring services on "Snow White and the Huntsman" (2012) and "47 Ronin" (2013) before making his long-awaited directorial debut with "The Two Faces of January" (2014), an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith suspense novel, which he read while making "Catch" at Oxford. The film, which starred Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac, enjoyed positive reviews during its limited theatrical run.