DOUBLE HOUR, THE (LA DOPPIA ORA) (director: Giuseppe Capotondi; screenwriters: Alessandro Fabbri/Ludovica Rampoldi/Stefano Sardo; cinematographer: Tat Radcliffe; editor: Guido Notari; music: Pasquale Catalano; cast: Ksenia Rappoport (Sonia), Filippo Timi (Guido), Antonia Truppo (Margherita), Gaetano Bruno (Riccardo), Fausto Russo Alesi (Bruno), Michele Di Mauro (Dante), Lucia Poli (Marisa), Giorgio Colangeli (Old Priest); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Nicola Giuliano/Francesca Cima; Samuel Goldwyn Films; 2009-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)
“Suffers from being too clever for its own good and too manipulative.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A clever film noir that marks the directorial debut of Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Capotondi, former photographer for Vanity Fair and director of music videos. It suffers from being too clever for its own good and too manipulative. It’s written by Alessandro Fabbri, Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo.
In Turin, Italy, the new hotel chambermaid Sonia (Ksenia Rappoport), a Slovenian immigrant, is in shock when the woman guest in the room she’s cleaning commits suicide by jumping out the window. Next we see Sonia falling for surly but handsome bearded ex-cop Guido (Filippo Timi), a widower whom she meets at a speed-dating date club where he’s a regular. Guido now works as a security guard for an absentee boss to guard his vacant mansion filled with priceless art. He uses a high-tech security system to ward off intruders. But the place gets robbed by an efficient group of masked men, as Guido lets his guard down and is fondling Sonia while taking a walk on the estate woods. Confusion kicks in as we’re led to believe at first that the burglars shot Guido dead and then we’re led to believe Sonia will die when she’s in a coma, but it’s all tomfoolery, misinformation and red herrings thrown our way. When the unnecessary haze clears after too many plot twists to count, we know as little of the truth as the screenplay allows without it being too ambiguous and thereby rendering the story meaningless.
It’s the kind of entertaining empty movie that’s pretty to look at and the story is certainly unpredictable, but by the conclusion it seems more like an academic exercise. After the robbery Sonia turns into a ghost who keeps seeing photographs of her with Guido in Argentina that she never took; there’s a creepy mysterious hotel guest who takes a special interest in her well-being; the cop friend of Guido’s, Dante (Michele Di Mauro), has pegged her a suspect as he investigates her shady past in Slovenia by contacting her estranged father; and there’s a second suicide. Before the third act ends, there’s a major plot twist that changes everything previously seen–making it seem like nothing is ever quite what it is in this confusing psychological thriller.
It’s the kind of mindfuck that makes you believe it’s just supposed to be a teaser of a non-linear experimental film that wants only to tickle our fancy with its gimmicky filmmaking style.
The title refers to the moment when the time consists of the same numbers, like 20:20pm.
REVIEWED ON 6/6/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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