“The Double Hour” gets the American treatment


While we’re waiting with a mixture of anticipation and dread for the U.S. remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, this weekend brings the chance to see the original version of another foreign film slated for remake — The Double Hour.

The Italian film, which took three prizes at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, is my favorite kind of movie: a dark and twisty psychological thriller. Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport, whom you may recognize from the gay-themed film L’Uomo Che Ama (The Man Who Loves), plays Sonia, a Slovenian immigrant and maid in an upscale Italian hotel who falls for ex-cop Guido (Filippo Timi) during a speed-dating event.

During their initial conversation, we learn that a “double hour” is when the hour is the same as the minutes on a clock, e.g. 11:11. If you look at your watch at such a time, you get to make a wish. (Let me know if it works.)

As you’ve probably guessed, duality is the theme of The Double Hour. Guido is a security guard at a private estate and takes Sonia there for the weekend when its owner is away. While the alarm is off, Guido and Sonia go for a stroll and a gang of crooks picks that exact time to rob the place.

The rest of the film unravels the mystery of how the thieves knew when to break in and whether Sonia was in on it, with scattered glimpses of her somewhat murky past thrown in. Mostly, though, it focuses on the effect of the crime on Guido and Sonia.

Here’s the American trailer:

Part of The Double Hour’s brilliance is the way it combines cinematography and music to add tension. It feels very European, which makes me resist the idea of an American remake. That, of course, is all the more reason to see the Italian version. Plus, It opens in limited release April 15 and should be available on DVD by summer.

Have any of you seen The Double Hour? Will you put it on your Netflix list or wait for the U.S. version?

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