Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The Double Hour
It’s also the type of film that is impossible to summarize in a way that entices, but reveals nothing. But for the sake of challenge: the film concerns itself with Sonia, a reserved Italian chambermaid who seems to be coasting through life, void of any sort of passion. Early in the movie (actually, in the movie’s first scene) Sonia is witness to something that should startle her out of her skin. But it doesn’t. Why? We’re not sure, but we ache to find out.
Soon Sonia meets Guido during a bout of speed dating. The two slowly hit it off and eventually fall for each other. But, this being a thriller, things are not what they seem. To reveal more would be to ruin what I confidently consider to be the best film so far this year. So plot details are mum from here on out.
So, why haven’t you heard of The Double Hour? Several reasons. The film was released in its native Italy in late 2009 before hitting a slew of foreign film festival circuits. It’s only now, finally, gotten a tiny domestic release, and will undoubtedly leave indie theatres quieter than it arrived. Which is a kind way of saying that its final box office gross won’t be one 100th of The Hangover Part II’s first weekend take.
Secondly, The Double Hour stars, and was made by, people you’ve never heard of. There’s no big name to give it that extra nudge. Click on director Giuseppe Capotondi’s IMDB page: nothing. No writing credits, no short films, nothing. Just The Double Hour. Surely editor Guido Notari has had a long career to perfect what he does so masterfully here. Nope. Cinematographer Tat Radcliffe? Nothing notable. Not even stars Kseniya Rappoport and Filippo Timi have made a dent.
But the lack of distribution and marquee names shouldn’t deter you, not when a movie is this good. The Double Hour is as suspenseful as Hitchcock, as patient as De Palma, as smooth as Nolan and as narrative-focused as Tarantino. And, believe me, I understand the dilemma. I understand that many of you don’t see the point in traveling more than an hour to watch a 90 minute movie when you can see one right down the road.
Well, here’s the difference. Right down the road, you’re going to pay $10 for the same pirates and robots and hangovers that you’ve already seen. What I’m proposing, rather strongly, is that you travel a little farther for something that is a.) probably cheaper, and b.) immensely more satisfying.
A few times a year (or maybe just once, if I’m lucky) I see a film that is so well done, I cannot rest until I’ve seen it again. The Double Hour is that film. It’s a never ending display of bravado filmmaking. There is no lacking aspect; everything works, seamlessly. Do yourself a favor and take a brief break from the blockbusters. It’s simply not possible that you’ll regret it. Expect this film to be one of my top ten of the year. A
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