Apartment Zero stars Colin Firth as Adrian, a socially-inept man in Argentina who, due to lack of funds, has to rent out his insane mother's room. He finds solace and friendship in Jack (Hart Bochner), but as time progresses Adrian becomes more and more agitated with his roommate's behavior, and eventually begins to believe that Jack is a killer who has plagued the city for weeks. But are Adrian's instincts true, or is he succumbing to the same mental disorder that plagues his mother?
Made in 1988, Apartment Zero is one of Firth's first major pictures, but he still shows the same brilliance to acting that he shows today. He has always played socially awkward characters quite well, but Mr. Darcy this character is not. Adrian hates social confrontation, and hates when Jack is friendly with his neighbors, who he is sure are leeches conspiring against him. Firth's franticness in even the most basic of scenes is perfect, and he seems to work up a sweat anytime he struggles with a conversation.
On the flip side, I can't say I'm crazy about Bochner, which is perhaps why no one knows who he is. He seems a little fake, both in performance and look, and you can never really figure him out. That being said, maybe he nails the part. His character is meant to be mysterious and outwardly charming, while possessing something dark on the inside. Bochner certainly handles that quite well, but it doesn't mean I have to like him!
As for the movie, it is good, but not great. While it does build to a rather disturbing climax, the movie is about as off beat as you can get without being directly weird, and the movie, directed by Martin Donovan, struggles as a result. It appears as though Donovan was attempting to do something really strange, but instead wound up with a rather normal film that just has some oddities about it. Still, the unique soundtrack adds some flavor to the picture, and it is by no means poorly directed.
Apartment Zero is a movie that clearly wants to be more than it is, but a good performance from Firth and rather inward story makes this film a nice change of pace to watch on DVD (which, to correspond with this review, is of course is hitting stores soon).
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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