Apartment Zero

Adrian leduc, played with uncommon skill by Colin Firth, manages a movie house in Buenos Aires that specializes in revivals. During off hours, Adrian grudgingly allows his cashier and her friends to use his theater for political meetings. A series of grisly murders around the city has led human-rights groups to believe that the killings are the work of a former member of an Argentine death squad. But Adrian can't be bothered with such matters. His business is failing, and he must now think of renting out part of his apartment.

Fastidious to a fault, Adrian treasures his privacy. His neighbors are busybodies, his potential roommates even worse. But then he meets Jack Carney -- Hart Bochner, in an extraordinary performance -- a handsome charmer to whom Adrian and most of the tenants develop a fierce attraction. After renting the space to Jack, Adrian becomes obsessive about him -- not just his body but the mysterious box he keeps under his bed and the fact that Jack, an American, has never heard of The Odd Couple. Jack's allure doesn't fade when Adrian thinks he may be the killer; it intensifies. Adrian has always been a sucker for packaging.

Director and co-writer Martin Donovan, who was born in Argentina and later moved to Europe, displays a keen understanding of the hypocrisy festering beneath the elegant surfaces of his native land. His film, a dazzling mix of mirth and menace, is that rare find: a thriller that plumbs the violence of the mind.

From The Archives Issue 564: November 2, 1989
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