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The Double Hour

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

You could call them guessing-game movies: those clever, chronologically skewed films that keep the ground shifting underneath your feet, supplying just enough (mis)information to make the narrative gotchas hit you in the face like a brick. It takes a level of skill to stack up such blind-alley twists repeatedly, so kudos to Italian director Giuseppe Capotondi for almost pulling off a cinematic sleight-of-hand in this romantic thriller.

Hotel chambermaid Sonia (Rappoport) hooks up with Guido (Vincere's Timi), a former cop, at a speed-dating function. After an inexplicable postcoital blow-off, romance eventually blooms; soon, the two wind up canoodling while he's at work guarding a house full of priceless artworks and artifacts. (Because what screams gettin' it on more than that?) The place gets robbed, and Guido is murdered. Oh, wait, maybe he wasn't killed but, like, she was! Or maybe this is all a dream. Also, what's up with the obsession over temporal patterns like 11:11pm?

Here's the thing: We enjoy a good mindfuck lark as much as the next filmgoer, but such fluid tomfoolery eventually has to add up to something, and The Double Hour ultimately doesn't. Despite Capotondi's eye for suspense-inducing compositions (he's obviously studied his Hitchcock and Argento), the red herrings and intentional wrong turns increasingly devolve from arbitrary to gratuitous. The vibe initially suggests a trip through Polanskiville, which makes our eventual destination to the Italo-equivalent of Shyamalan-land all the more disappointing.

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Written by David Fear
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