- The Double Hour
- Ksenia Rappoport, Filippo Timi, Antonia Truppo.
- Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi.
- Not rated. Opens Friday.
There are only so many times a thriller can reveal that everything you thought you knew was wrong before it becomes fundamentally untrustworthy. The atmospheric Italian drama The Double Hour pulls off a couple of really effective narrative shifts before cheating the audience with the worst kind of plot twist, one that basically invalidates the preceding 40 minutes of the movie. Director Giuseppe Capotondi almost makes up for the egregious abuse of the audience’s trust with some wonderfully evocative visuals and an eerie, ethereal sound design, so that the movie is relatively enjoyable to watch even when you feel like murdering the screenwriters.
Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport is also quite good as Sonia, a hotel maid caught up in a robbery at a secluded estate, in which her new boyfriend Guido (Filippo Timi), an ex-cop, is shot by the criminals. Even though Sonia’s actual relationship to the crime shifts over the course of the movie, Rappoport does a great job of conveying the woman’s anguish, whether it’s in the form of grief or guilt or some other unidentifiable emotion. Rappoport’s involving performance makes it all the more frustrating when much of the character’s emotional journey is revealed to be false (or at least entirely unreliable). The Double Hour might seem exotic and meaningful thanks to its foreign origins and stylish artistry, but at its core it’s just another dishonest thriller with more interest in shocking reversals than coherent storytelling.