The Double Hour
2009, NR, 96 min. Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi. Starring Ksenia Rappoport, Filippo Timi, Antonia Truppo, Gaetano Bruno, Fausto Russo Alesi.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., June 10, 2011
Red herrings abound in The Double Hour, an Italian psychological mystery that features two terrific performances by Rappoport and Timi. The film tells the story of two lonely people, Sonia (Rappoport) and Guido (Timi), in Turin, who find love after meeting at a speed-dating event. At least that’s the story as it’s initially presented to us. Then an art theft occurs while the couple is courting on the acreage of a grand estate where Guido, a cop turned security guard, works. Guido is killed in the course of the robbery, and Slovenian immigrant Sonia returns to her dreary job as a hotel chambermaid. But maybe some of these details are an illusion or a dream or the result of intentional misdirection. Certainly, the detective who was Guido’s former colleague (Alesi) thinks there was something suspicious about the crime, although he’s unable to pin down his hunch. The Double Hour is difficult to discuss without giving away its twists and turns. You never exactly learn what each character knows or when they knew it, or what pieces of the story are relevant to the mystery and which are mere distractions. Suffice it to say that when examined in retrospect, it doesn’t seem as though the film’s calculations add up to anything of real substance. Those who enjoy being yanked this way and that may find the film’s red herrings a personal delight, but others will just feel manipulated. Director Giuseppe Capotondi, who makes his feature film debut after a career spent as a photographer and director of commercials and music videos, predominantly films the characters in close-ups and tight shots. Although watching Rappoport and Timi's faces is an appealing activity in and of itself, their expressions never reveal the answers for which we’re looking. The Double Hour is ultimately a mystery box that lacks a treasure at its core.