The Double Hour

Psychological thriller concerns Sonia, a young and pretty hotel maid who attends a speed dating event eager to meet a boyfriend. She finds one in Guido, an ex-cop-turned-security guard. They begin seeing each other. Then bad stuff happens. The way the mystery unfolds, that is, the design of this suspense puzzle is intriguing.  But the specifics cannot really be discussed in much detail without spoiling the fun. The movie is unpredictable right from the start. Within the first few minutes, a young woman jumps to her death from a hotel window, apparently a suicide attempt. No explanation is given. It’s one of those dramas where looks can be deceiving and nothing is as it seems. Duane Dudek of the Journal Sentinel described it as a “moebius strip of a tale” and that’s such an apt description, I had to quote him.

The script is interesting, but what ultimately draws you in the most, are the performances of the two leads. Russian actress Kseniya Rappoport plays Sonia with a mysterious, ambiguous quality that is alluring, but also aloof and distant. Italian actor Filippo Timi is a more simple fellow. He’s approachable and trusting but with a guarded exterior. The couple have such chemistry, their interaction is fascinating. Their association is even highlighted by a steamy romantic encounter. Erotic scenes can sometimes come across as laughable, particularly when they are overly intense. It’s a tribute to the stars’ magnetism that the affair here is seductive.

Much has been made of the debt the story owes to directors like Hitchcock but this decidedly chilly thriller has much more in common with European art house pictures like “Read My Lips,” and “Tell No One” than any Hollywood production. Those modern movies are good so it’s definitely a compliment. However, Hitchcock’s characters displayed considerably more humanity that this lot. There’s an inaccessibility, a distance between them and the viewer, that prevents us from truly getting to know or understand them.

Film noir, melodrama, suspense, even horror elements are all expertly crafted into an intricately woven plot that holds our attention until the very last frame. The title refers to those moments when a clock reads double digits, such as 11:11 or, in European time, 23:23. It’s at precisely those minutes you are entitled to make a wish. Whether these aspirations come true is open for debate. It’s an enigmatic film. One that doesn’t always play fair with the audience, but thanks to the two charismatic leads, we really don’t care.

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3 Responses to “The Double Hour”

  1. Excellent review, Mark! Never heard of this movie before but now I’m definitely interested 🙂

  2. After reading your review , I really want to see this. Thanks for the excitement.

  3. Markus Robinson Says:

    I still have to check this film out. I’ve been super intrigued ever since you told me about it and reading this review only makes me want to see it more.

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