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'The Double Hour' puzzles until final shot

The Double Hour (Not Rated, probably R) (96 min.) — Giuseppe Capotondi's directing debut is a twisty-turny psychological thriller suggesting he's someone to watch. Like the genre's top filmmakers — the Coens, Polanski, Hitchcock — Capotondi builds dread with wicked winks at the audience, dropping subtle surprises along the way.

The Double Hour focuses on Sonia (Ksenia Rappoport), a hotel maid who's cleaning when a guest leaps to her death from the window. Then she's at a speed-dating party, where a shy, widowed security guard named Guido (Filippo Timi) stokes her interest, leading to a dating relationship. Things go well until they're trapped in a violent home invasion and Sonia is left in a coma.

From there — and in hindsight from the start — nothing and nobody is entirely what they seem to be. Capotondi weaves deceptions, hallucinations and family skeletons into a modest mystery that isn't resolved until the final shot. Even then, another viewing might be in order to appreciate how cleanly these pieces fit together. Shown with English subtitles. B+ (Tampa Theatre)

Steve Persall, Times film critic

'The Double Hour' puzzles until final shot 06/08/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 5:30am]
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