The Double Hour (La Doppia Ora) opens as a hotel maid sees a guest leap to her death. Her own identity begins to fracture in this romantic thriller.
Intriguing feature debut
Giuseppe Capotondi’s first feature film flashes back and forward. Shadowy twists and genuine passions that dovetail perfectly.
Known for his music videos, Capotondi expertly crafts intrigue in the tradition of Hitchcock, Scorsese and Polanski. He’s a director to watch as he joins a new generation of psychological thrill-weavers including the Coen brothers, Christopher Nolan, Juan Jose Campanella and David Fincher.
A robbery. A coma. An old priest.
The action unfolds in Turin, Italy, yet it’s already happened. The future is uncertain – or is it?
The director creates a landscape of furtive glances, secrets, lies and surprises. Vivid recollections may be real – or not. There is violence, but the film does not rely on it.
A red bedspread
Suspense is based firmly on direction, acting and editing. By the final scene, it all makes sense.
Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport achingly portrays Sonia, the hotel maid who goes speed-dating to forget the grisly suicide she witnessed.
Guido (Filippo Timi of Vincere), a widowed, former cop now running security at a secluded mansion, is the last man she meets that night. He’s handsome, soft-spoken and honest, a far cry from the others.
The two continue their conversation in an evening stroll along the riverfront. Both Rappoport and Timi won awards at the 2009 Venice Film Festival for their stirring, enigmatic performances.
A double hour
A double hour, Guido tells Sonia, is the moment when hour and minute are identical. When a digital clock at the opulent mansion displays 23:23, Guido praises that magical time when wishes can be made and granted. As the plot unravels, several double hours mark turning points.
Capotondi cleverly manipulates man-made and naturalistic details to build suspense. Guido shows Sonia the long-distance mic that he uses to detect intruders. He has recorded afternoons of bird song at the estate too. Guido offers to create a relaxing, sensuous DVD just for Sonia.
Lending fascination are Antonia Truppo as Sonia’s co-worker and friend Margherita; Giorgio Colangeli as the old priest; Gaetano Bruno as the thug Riccardo, and Michele Di Mauro as persistent detective Dante.
The Double Hour was filmed on location in Carmagnola, Turin and the Piedmont region of Italy.
Outstanding writing by the team of Alessandro Fabbri, Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo makes The Double Hour a modest gem where everyday life holds drama and yearning. Guido Notari contributes superb editing. (4 out of 5 stars)
If you like The Double Hour, you might enjoy: The Secret in Their Eyes.
The Double Hour 2009 / NR / 2 hours, 18 min
Cast Overview: Ksenia Rappoport, Filippo Timi, Antonia Truppo, Gaetano Bruno, Fausto Russo Alesi, Michele Di Mauro, Lucia Poli, Giorgio Colangeli
Director: Giuseppe Capotondi
Genre: Thriller, Crime Thriller, Romance, Mystery, World Cinema
Language: Italian with English subtitles