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The Double Hour (2009, Italy) ****

The Double HourWhat’s compelling about The Double Hour, an Italian romantic thriller, written by Alessandro Fabbri, Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo, and directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, is that the film uses the thriller genre to pose a simple yet fundamental question: can people really change? And it does so without making big verbal statements or being peachy; it raises the question, somewhere in the second part of the film, in the most straightforward manner. The plot is fully supportive of the question, and though it is resolved, there is no one answer suits all; humans are complex beings, a puzzle not always fully understood even to its maker.
In that sense, The Double Hour, compared by some to the excellent 2006 French thriller Tell No One, reminds me much more of the 2009 Oscar winning Argentinean thriller The Secret in Their Eyes, where aside of the usual twists and turns of a thriller, the film ends up posting a question larger than the specific topic of the story: when a person jails his demon, doesn’t he himself become a prisoner?
The Double Hour’s first plot twist, arrives with a sense of dissatisfaction. This is because nothing in the film prior, gives even a hint as to what may happen in that twist. It is atypical of thrillers, that usually keep the audience guessing, with a decent chance of guessing it right. Yet, as the plot progresses, the satisfaction is regained as the second twist is already disclosed if you follow the first one closely. And it’s all done in a manner that maintains the plot’s integrity and logic.
The Double Hour enjoys excellent acting by strong screen personas of its leading actors Filippo Timi and Kseniya Rappoport. Pacing lacks on occasion but overall the direction is confidently handled.
The Double Hour is a recommended, close 5-star film, especially for lovers of the thriller genre who enjoy an additional intellectual layer.

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