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Apartment Zero

If you’ve ever fantasized about living with Colin Firth and then fallen into a state of depression after realizing that it’s never going to happen, Apartment Zero is the movie for you.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Drama, Thriller

Director: Martin Donovan

Actors: Hart Bochner, Colin Firth

Year: 1988

MPAA Rating: R

Country: UK

If you’ve ever fantasized about living with Colin Firth and then fallen into a state of depression after realizing that it’s never going to happen, Apartment Zero is the movie for you. Watching young Firth as the uptight, possessive Adrian LeDuc will dash your dreams of Darcy, and leave you thankful for your ordinary life. It’s just that creepy.

Adrian is a serious young man whose life revolves around movies. He runs a small, rather unprofitable revival theater, and his apartment is decorated with photos of movie stars. He would be a barrel of monkeys if not for that weird seriousness, but there’s something antisocial about his love of film…something that suggests he would rather live in a safe cinematic bubble than deal with the real world. Of course, he’s an Englishman in Buenos Aires who’s slowly losing his mother to insanity, so his reticence understandable to a certain extent.

It’s hard to imagine someone like Adrian sharing his apartment with a boarder, but this is exactly what he decides to do. He rejects one potential tenant after another, but everything changes when Jack (Hart Bochner) arrives. Their connection is so immediate, so electric, so totally freaky-deaky that you half-expect them to fall into each other’s arms to the tune of of a Bad English song. Instead they settle into a comfortable routine of laundry, meals, and movie trivia games.

Though Jack and Adrian come from opposite ends of the social spectrum, the charming rebel and the shy worrywart seem to have one thing in common: neither has ever had a real friend. There is a childish quality to their friendship, as though they want to walk arm-in-arm down to the fishin’ hole and become blood brothers forever. Unsurprisingly, it’s not long before disappointment sets in. Adrian is disgusted by Jack’s slutty tendencies, and Jack is bummed that Adrian won’t join in the shenanigans. The perfect friendship has officially hit a sour note.

As if this relationship weren’t creepy enough, Buenos Aires has been plagued by violent murders, and you just know that one of them is to blame. Though the first three quarters of the movie are rather slow, all of the character development pays off as suspicions mount and the truth comes to light. Are the neighbors right in thinking that Adrian has chopped Jack to bits and thrown away the pieces, or has Jack duped everyone with his winning smile and piercing blue eyes? In a way, the answer to both questions is yes, and the last fifteen minutes of Apartment Zero will have you watching in slack-jawed horror. Nothing is as it seems, but in the end, it’s clear that Adrian and Jack deserve each other.

DVD NOTES

This DVD release restores 8-minutes of footage to Apartment Zero, presenting it as the “uncut theatrical version”. The DVD also includes a couple of commentary tracks, one from director Martin Donovan, as well as a commentary track from writer/producer David Koepp and director-pal Steven Soderbergh, offering insights about the movie, as well as movie-making in general, in the 80s and now.

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