11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock and followers of the more recent "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" series, would likely be pleased with this nail-biting psychological thriller from Italy, which delivers many unexpected twists during its 96 minutes of running time.
If suspense isn't your cup of tea but you enjoy art films with non-linear and unpredictable plots, you'll probably end up drinking the whole pot of this satisfying brainteaser from newcomer director Giuseppe Capotondi.
"The Double Hour" is actually a love story between a lonely immigrant, Sonia (a chambermaid at a high-end hotel in Turin) and the also lonesome Guido, an ex-cop working as a security guard at an art dealer's estate. The two meet at a speed-dating event and just as they are beginning to fall in love, a crime happens, and their relationship is cut short.
But before that, during their first date, Guido looks at his watch, which marks 23:23, and he tells Sonia that it's a double hour and that she should make a wish. This detail early on, serves as a metaphor for the double life of the characters and the double storyline of the film you are about to embark on. And it's details such as this one that you need to pay attention to, because every one of them is important to decipher this riveting puzzler that won't let you get too comfortable in your seat.
Acted to perfection by Ksenia Rappoport and Filippo Timi "The Double Hour" is making its way quietly now through art-house theaters in the United States. Don't miss it!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Giuseppe Capotondi's Italian puzzler "The Double Hour" is a multi-layered story that resists easy definition. Like many, I was lured into the film by the usual devices. The DVD packaging promises a thriller with the overused (and seldom accurate) adjective Hitchcockian being employed. But the movie is considerably more complex than its advertising tagline "A Romance. A Robbery. A Mystery." would have you believe. I'm not saying this to be critical, but to help realign viewer expectations. Anyone approaching "The Double Hour" anticipating non-stop thrills and suspense will not have these expectations met. Rather this is a serious-minded drama that unravels a puzzle which leaves the audience (and the characters) questioning the nature of reality itself. As an intellectual exercise, I really liked this experience and for viewers that don't need everything spelled out--this is an investment well worth taking.
Made in 2009, "The Double Hour" is just now getting a North American DVD distribution deal despite its initial critical success. At the Venice International Film Festival of that year, it swept the major categories winning Best Italian Film, Best Actor (Filippo Timi), and Best Actress (Ksenia Rappoport). It is a film that really makes the most of its enigmatic art-house vibe. But it is also a film that should be left to unravel at its own pace without spoilers. Any of the reviews that reveal too much of the plot are simply doing the movie a disservice. At its primary level, the movie focuses on the relationship between Timi (a former cop and security guard) and Rappoport (a hotel maid and Slovenian immigrant). The two meet at a speed-dating event in Turin, both seem irreparably damaged by complicated relationships in their past, and both are somewhat reluctant to jump into something new. Despite their reservations, however, this casual meeting develops further until one date turns to tragedy.
The movie is then redefined by an act of violence. I will not divulge anymore, but suffice it to say--we're now left trying to piece together exactly what happened. It is well executed and particularly well acted. Rappoport, in particular, utilizes a world weary grace that is mesmerizing (and I kept getting hints of Mad Men's Christina Hendricks). As a psychological mystery, "The Double Hour" poses a number of interesting questions. In fact, I think it is open-ended enough to be interpreted in several different ways and I always think that's a fascinating dynamic. As long as you aren't expecting edge-of-your-seat thrills, this one has a lot to recommend itself to the right audience. KGHarris, 3/12.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Robert G. Splaine Jr.
- Published on Amazon.com
A young couple meets at a speed dating event and become an item. Their relationship is interrupted by a theft at a home where he works as a security guard. Any further discussion of the film would be a spoiler, so I'll just say that this move will fool you. The viewer doesn't know the reality until the conclusion, and it is a very well done "film noir". The performances are strong, and overall this is really good work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
THE DOUBLE HOUR (LA DOPPIA ORA) is a maze of a film, one of those films that seem to have a straightforward storyline until suddenly what has been happening in front of our eyes is not at all the real story. The script by Alessandro Fabbri, Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo is smart, clever in a Hitchcockian way,and succeeds in keeping us on the periphery of a fascinating tale. This is Giuseppe Capotondi's first film as a director and it gives notice of a new talent on the horizon.
The setting is Turin. Sonia (gifted and stunningly beautiful Russian actress Kseniya Rappoport) works as a chambermaid in an elegant hotel and in the opening scene she witnesses the suicide of the woman whose room she is cleaning. Apparently distraught by the incident she seeks refuge in a speed dating club run by the mysterious Marisa (Lucia Poli) who watches carefully as Sonia encounters the club's most frequent attendee, former cop Guido (Filippo Timi). Both Sonia and Guido are cautious about involvement but eventually they leave Turin for a country weekend getaway. Guido is serving as a security guard for a wealthy Italian, but the house is empty and Guido turns off the security system. While the two are having an amorous tryst the house is invaded by thieves who steal everything and shoot Guido, grazing Sonia with a bullet. Events occur that are not as they seem and Sonia's strange past is relived before our eyes - or is what we are seeing the effects of Sonia being in a coma after the shooting? To say more would be to deprive the viewer of the very strange twists and turns this story takes until the final few minutes of the film when the audience realizes they have been part of the charade.
Kseniya Rappoport won the Best Actress award in the 2009 Venice Film Festival for the complex and multifaceted performance she offers in this film. The supporting cast is excellent with Filippo Timi being particularly talented in holding together an impossible to believe character study. The musical score by Pasquale Catalano and the cinematography by Tat Radcliffe add immeasurably to the film. For those who appreciate challenging plots and superb writing this film will surely satisfy. Grady Harp, January 12
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
E. Lee Zimmerman
- Published on Amazon.com
Here's the thing: would a movie like THE USUAL SUSPECTS work successfully as a mystery IF the audience knew who Keyser Soze was from the beginning as opposed to the ending? Would THE SIXTH SENSE have been as captivating if, half-way through, Bruce Willis confessed to the audience that he was a ghost? Or, for that matter, would Darth Vader's big reveal - "No, Luke, I am your father!" - have been as effective a surprise if the Sith Lord told you during THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK's opening crawl?
Of course, the answer is `no' to all of the above (unless you're a sadist), and therein lies a problem unique to this form of storytelling: when can a storyteller effectively reveal a film's big secret in order to achieve the greatest payoff for the audience? That said, THE DOUBLE HOUR gambles with its narrative structure - pulling the rug out from under the viewers when either they least expected it or were already peeking past the curtains on their own - and I found the results a bit mixed.
Sonia (played by Ksenia Rappoport) works as a chambermaid for an expensive hotel in Turin. At a speed-dating event, she meets Guido (Filippo Timi). The two strike up a romantic relationship, but, on a romantic weekend away from the city, something goes horribly wrong, leaving Sonia's memory fractured, but she's desperate to put back the pieces of her missing recollections in order to unravel what really happened the day her new lover died.
THE DOUBLE HOUR is one of those rare films that's difficult to review to any great length without spoiling some element of it. Suffice it to say, the film - like so many mysteries of this type - has a "big reveal," and how this revelation is handled genuinely `makes' or `breaks' any picture. It's clever - not too clever - but, if you're watching close, I think it's a rather easy find. Maybe too easy, though that's not the issue I had with the film. In fact, the problem I had was WHEN they gave it. In short, once you know - as an audience - you've been had, then why accept anything or everything following the reveal at face value? You can't - or, at least, I know I can't. Once the filmmakers have already displayed their preference for trickery, how can I accept whatever they tell me next as honest once I know definitively that they've engaged in obvious deceit?
To be fair, others found THE DOUBLE HOUR much more convincing than I did. The film won `Best Actress,' `Best Actor,' and `Best Italian Film' at the Venice International Film Festival. I'd never argue that Ms. Rappoport and Mr. Timli didn't rise to the challenge here - in fact, Timli's work as the flawed and distraught lover was exceptional. Together and independently, they create some nice moments of desperation and tenderness. Rather, my problems evolved from the script. I was never genuinely `convinced' of the mystery, and, when the reveal came when it did, I thought the timing was all wrong. It didn't destroy my experience with the film, but it definitely diminished it.
The film comes from Samuel Goldwyn Films along with participation from Flatiron Film Company, indigofilm, Medusa Film, and several others. It's stateside distribution is handled through New Video. The disc is very well produced - images are crisp with plenty of detail, and sound plays a very key role consistently throughout the picture (so listen closely!). The special features are slim - there's only a brief behind-the-scenes featurette and some deleted scenes (nothing much is added, so they were better excised). The picture is spoken Italian with English subtitles.
RECOMMENDED. It's definitely worth seeing, despite what I saw as obvious drawbacks. Like the packaging says, there's "a romance, a robbery, a mystery," though not in equal parts measure. THE DOUBLE HOUR is the kind of experience you may want to visit one more time - only to see what you may've missed the first time through - though I'll admit that I was never really pulled into the narrative's web of deceit. I think the script dabbled too closely with what was hidden behind-the-curtain, and I think it managed (or mismanaged) its "big reveal" way too soon, leaving me as a viewer to question anything (and everything) that came after that moment.
In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at New Video provided me with a DVD screener copy of THE DOUBLE HOUR for the expressed purposes of completing this review.