Giuseppe Capotondi's THE DOUBLE HOUR
There’s a fantastic indie thriller now playing in limited release, and if you have a chance to see it, you SHOULD. It’s THE DOUBLE HOUR, and features a wonderful performance by Russian actress Kseniya Rappoport, who won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. An Italian romantic thriller with undertones in both noir and psychological drama, this film has more loop-de-loops plot-wise than anything else I’ve seen lately. The movie also manages to seamlessly integrate fairly disparate elements and events – affecting a bizarre, pleasurable experience that will definitely keep you guessing.
Rappoport plays Sonia, a maid in a high end Turin hotel. (You may wonder how this gorgeous woman ended up scrubbing hotel toilets when she could have clearly been a model, but no matter.) Sonia witnesses a suicide early in the film that seems to set the tone for what’s coming in her own life: a series of bizarre events out of left field that prove to be just as confounding for Sonia as they are for the viewer. Until, of course, they’re not. To avoid spoilers, let’s just say that after meeting a hunky new romantic interest (Filippo Timi, also excellent), Sonia and said date end up in the middle of a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time violent crime. A recovering Sonia is then hurtled through a series of traumatic events that result in a few very startling revelations, this time, mostly for the audience. In one amazing scene, Sonia’s luck is so down that she is about to be buried alive, and it’s very, very scary. But as the trailer tells us, nothing is what it seems.
I love that the protagonist is not classically empathetic. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested in her character – I was fascinated. What it means to me is that Hollywood doesn’t always get it right when its movies are so afraid of the ‘unlikable’ protagonist that characters end up less than flawed or worse, quirky-flawed. Sonia is mysterious and charismatic. She’s also trouble – and that’s a good thing.