Plot fans will be delighted with The Double Hour, an Italian thriller that introduces a new wrinkle every 10 minutes, and takes its time to explain how they all fold together. The movie opens with hotel maid Kseniya Rappoport cleaning a room when a guest suddenly commits suicide. Then Rappoport meets security guard Filippo Timi at a speed-dating night, and the two jump into a torrid affair that culminates in him asking her to spend the weekend at the sprawling estate he watches. While they’re taking romantic walks in the woods, armed, masked burglars storm the house. That’s just the first 20 minutes of The Double Hour. Still to come: the ghost Rappoport keeps seeing, the photographs of her that she doesn’t remember taking, the mysterious hotel guest who takes an unusual interest in her well-being, the cop who investigates her shady past in Slovenia, and the second suicide. Also lying in wait: a major twist two-thirds of the way through that renders almost everything that came before moot.
The Double Hour is pretty to look at, making good use of the scenery in and around Turin; if nothing else, the runaway plot keeps the movie unpredictable. But at times, The Double Hour seems like it’s trying to prove the point that Timi makes about speed-dating: “With too many choices, you always end up making the wrong one.” First-time feature director Giuseppe Capotondi and a trio of credited screenwriters do their best to weave all the disparate pieces of the story into a study of faith and trust, and how both can change as a situation evolves. But in the end, The Double Hour remains the kind of movie where the heroine gets drugged and dragged into a shallow grave in the woods, and the viewers think, “Jesus, what now?”