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The Double Hour

Photo: , License: N/A, Created: 2008:11:06 13:34:39

The Double Hour

Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi

Opens May 27 at the Charles Theatre

One look at Guido (Filippo Timi) lets you know he’s seen more than he wishes he has in this life already. The dark eyes of this ex-cop turned security guard give nothing away, and he almost sleepwalks through a night of speed-dating at a Turin nightspot, as if he already knows any potential human contact isn’t worth the effort. But there’s something about him that attracts Sonia (Ksenia Rappoport), a Slovenian immigrant who works as a chambermaid at a hotel. He doesn’t play any games during the speed-dating rounds. He doesn’t seem to have any preconceived notions of what he’s looking for. In fact, he barely appears to notice her. She ends up in his bed anyway. And they develop something very much like a warm relationship.

Just don’t go thinking The Double Hour—which, as Guido explains, is when the hour and minute correspond: 12:12, for example—is some kind of slowly developing romance. It is, but it is so much more. Director Giuseppe Capotondi announces the movie’s grim tone from the opening scene, where Sonia enters to clean a room, and its guest watches her enter the bathroom and then jumps—or was she pushed?—out the window to her death. Such ambiguity runs throughout the movie, as a crime takes place when Sonia visits Guido at work—and the movie jump starts into a psychologically rich noir, equal parts crime thriller and Antonioni hall of mirrors. It grew a tad confusing pretty quick, thanks to the way Capotondi puts together scenes with the expert sleight of hand of a veteran card hustler, and keeps you guessing up to a satisfyingly opaque conclusion. Not as unsettling as Götz Spielmann’s Revanche, but very much cut from the same cloth.

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