Sunday, June 19, 2011

Double Hour (Rhoades)

“Double Hour”
Is an Italian Puzzler

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Years ago I drove down from Innsbruck, Austria, to Turin, Italy. The rolling countryside and bottlebrush trees were picturesque. Many of the city’s elegant palazzos were built by Sicilian architect Filippo Juvarra, who modeled them on the Baroque style of Versailles. The city is the known as the “Automobile Capital of Italy.” The mysterious Shroud of Turin is ensconced here.
An Italian romantic thriller called “The Double Hour” (“La doppia ora”) takes place in Turin.

With all the twists and turns in this neo-noir film, it could have been called “The Triple Hour” or even “The Quadruple Hour.”

Here we have a former cop who is trying to meet a girlfriend through speed dating – that wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am production line of quick introductions. Our guy Guido (Filippo Timi) meets Sonia (Kseniya Rappoport), a Slovenian maid at a local hotel. As the couple gets to know each other better, they drive to the countryside for a romantic outing. But Sonia’s murky past emerges, and nothing turns out to be as it seems.

Sonia: Do you bring all the women here?

Guido: You’re the first.

Sonia: Why me?

Why indeed.

First-time director Giuseppe Capotondi keeps you guessing. Although nothing is quite as it seems, everything ends up making perfect sense. Yes, this Hitchcockian psychological thriller borrows from lots of other films (“Dressed to Kill,” “Blow Out,” etc.) but to good effect.
You’ve seen bearded Filippo Timi in the smaller role of Fabio in George Clooney’s “The American” and as Benito Mussolini in “Vincere.” Kseniya Aleksandrovna Rappoport is a Russian actress who has starred in such Italian films as “The Man Who Loves” and “The Unknown Woman.” Their chemistry is electric, like competing contestants on a quiz show. The subjects: Crime, murder, and doomed romance.

Better see it now in the subtitled Italian version. Producer Nicola Giuliano reports lots of interest in a Hollywood remake. This is a trip to Turin you’ll find worth taking.
[from Solares Hill]

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