The thing I love most about cinema is how much it constantly surprises me.

I was making the dash across London, from the BFI to the Vue Leicester Square, fingers crossed, hoping I could get a ticket for Gasper Noe’s, Enter the Void. Reaching the Vue’s box office, I excitedly asked if they had any tickets left, to which the box office attendant playfully laughed, “No chance!” There was to be no entering of any voids today.

So programme in hand, I hurriedly made my way back to the BFI in the hope they would have spaces free for one of their afternoon sessions. A quick flick through the schedule, a trip to the box office and before I knew it I had a ticket to see Giuseppe Capotondi’s, The Double Hour.

The short synopsis in the programme told me two things:

  1. It was from the production team behind Il Divo (the film, not the terrible band), which meant in the very least, it should be technically accomplished.
  2. The film has “pleasing echoes of Double Indemnity and Vertigo, two of my favourite old school films. However, I was already starting to make assumptions about the plot in my head.

Well I was right with my first analysis of the synopsis, this is indeed a masterful piece of filmmaking.

From cinematography, to editing, to sound, the whole production team had really stepped up to (and beyond) the mark and created something special with this movie. The cinematography seems fresh and inventive without having to do anything too extreme or experimental. The editing controls the pace of the film beautifully, letting moments play out poignantly, then snapping and cracking through others with a sense of frenzy and drama. Whilst the sound editing for The Double Hour is not only beautifully crafted, but also a key factor in the plot (even if we only realise this after the event). Like with Bradley Rust Gray’s, The Exploding Girl, sound is used so expertly, it adds a new dimension and a whole extra depth that is lacking in many similar films.

My second analysis of the plot however couldn’t have been more wrong. I was expecting to see plot strands ripped straight out of Vertigo and Double Indemnity. Instead, what I got was a story that continuously intrigued and enthralled me until it’s final seconds. The plot twists and turns at every chance and moments that seem strange and unclear suddenly become revealing moments of clarity later in the film.

For me, a film’s narrative is always more enjoyable if you have to work at it and analyze what you have seen, whereas a movie that just lays a plot down in front of you like a gift, just doesn’t seem as rewarding. After stepping out of the screening I was almost buzzing with excitement, running through the narrative in my head and piecing together the puzzle I had just seen. To be totally honest, I’m still not sure I picked up on everything in the plot and could probably do with another viewing straight away. Now that must be a sign of a good narrative and a good film!

One Response to DN LFF09: The Double Hour – Giuseppe Capotondi

  1. El Vez says:

    As 2010 comes to an end, I started reminiscing about the films I had seen in 2009 and I ultimately began to wonder what had happened to ‘The Double Hour’. Since seeing the film over a year ago, I have not heard a word about it! Nothing in the cinemas, on DVD, in magazines or on the Internet, strange consider that personally I found this one of the best films at the 2009 London film festival! After a bit of research, it looks as if there has been no UK release of ‘La Doppia Ora’ (it’s Italian title) and so far it has only been released in it’s home country. A real shame! After a lot of effort I managed to get my hands on a copy of the film, to see if maybe I was wrong about the film. Even on a second viewing it was one of the best films I’ve seen all of this year! Please can someone out there get this film the release it deserves!

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