[THE DOUBLE HOUR screens Thursday September 27th at the Cedar Lee Theatre as part of the Cleveland Italian Film Festival]
Review by Bob Ignizio
(La Dopia Ora)
plays like a light romance film. Sonia attends a speed dating session
where predictably most of the potential mates are losers and boors. The
exception is Guido (Filippo Timi), an ex-cop turned security guard.
Guido is a regular at these get-acquainted sessions, often hooking up
with partners for casual sex afterward. That's at least partly his
intent with Sonia as the two go for a stroll once the session is over,
but even the cynical Guido senses a real connection between them.
and Sonia part without getting physical, just as Guido happens to
notice that the time is 23:23, a “double hour” when both the hour and
minute are the same. He explains to Sonia his superstition that such
times are sort of like shooting stars in that you get to make a wish. He
admits, however, that he's never actually had one of his wishes come
continues his courtship of Sonia a few days later by taking her to the
mansion he guards. At one point he turns off the alarms so the two can
share a quiet moment in the surrounding woods. This is where THE DOUBLE HOUR
takes a turn into crime film territory as a group of armed men wearing
masks show up and force Guido to let them into the mansion. From here on
out, things get weird and the truth becomes hard to pin down.
this is another one of those “what is reality?” movies. At this point
I've seen so many of these things that it would almost be more of a
twist to just tell a straight forward story. Still, Director Giuseppe
Capotondi and screenwriters Alessandro Fabri, Ludovica Rampoldi, and
Stefano Sardo manage to add a few fresh touches to the scenario. It also
helps that the focus as more on the characters and their relationship
than in trying to trick the audience, and the strong, believable
performances from both leads contribute substantially to that end.
Still, just as in films like INCEPTION or JACOB'S LADDER, one's reading of THE DOUBLE HOUR
ultimately rests on interpretation. The fantasy elements are so subtle
that one can opt for a more concrete, real world explanation if one
wishes, but personally I find fantasy more rewarding in this case. I
think at least one, maybe even both, characters make wishes on a double
hour that come true. But as is often the case in stories about wishes,
having one granted doesn't necessarily result in happiness, or at least
the kind of happiness the wisher envisioned. 3 out of 4 stars.