The Double Hour falls squarely into my favorite genre, the romantic suspense film. Alfred Hitchcock, of course, was the master of this type of movie, but now and then someone else produces a good one. The Double Hour, from Italian director Giuseppe Capotondi, is more typical of what fans of this genre usually get: a nice try, but no threat to Hitchcock.
I’m going to summarize the plot, but keep in mind that everything I describe might or might not be true. (Yes, it’s that kind of movie.) A hotel maid (Kseniya Rappoport) meets a handsome ex-cop (Filippo Timi) at a speed-dating event. They seem to hit it off, but quickly find themselves in the middle of an art heist in which someone is shot. But is the maid who she says she is? Is the ex-cop who he claims to be?
I can’t say more about the plot without either lying or revealing too much. The problem with The Double Hour is that when you have a story this convoluted – with twists and turns pummeling the audience – your movie needs a lead character or two who are well-grounded, someone the audience can cling to when things get loopy. Alas, the two lovers are both rather cold, distant characters, and the chemistry between them is underwhelming. Russian actress Rappoport, especially, is attractive but doesn’t display much range.
I’m not sure that director Capotondi plays entirely fair with the audience. There’s a fine line between “Oh, I get it now” and “Hey, that’s cheating!” Still, if you enjoy this kind of movie, like I do, and if you are into solving puzzles, The Double Hour will keep you guessing. But it’s no Vertigo. Grade: B-
Director: Giuseppe Capotondi Cast: Kseniya Rappoport, Filippo Timi, Antonia Truppo, Gaetano Bruno, Fausto Russo Alesi, Michele Di Mauro, Lorenzo Gioielli, Lidia Vitale Release: 2009
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