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on May 3, 2002
I should probably see this one again, to sort out all the details, but a first viewing was enough to have me hooked on the story and characters, and left me thinking about them for days afterwards.
As a thriller it is superb, drawing you in slowly, building tension by what is left unsaid, by limiting your knowledge of the characters, and also by making them both thoroughly likable and somewhat detestable. A long, musical scene where the immensly attractive if somewhat sinister Jack rescues a cat from a ledge is a perfect example--he's irresistable to everyone, including the viewer, but we also see the way he stares down the cat and don't quite trust him. Colin Firth's lonely, film-obsessed and alienated loser Adrian is fascinating in his own right.
The heart of the movie lies in the many difficult relationships-Adrian's dislike of the other tenants, their adoration of Jack, and the marvellous, tense, sexually charged relationship between the two, sort of Withnail and I meets Vincent and Theo, meets The Talented Mr. Ripley.
If I have a complaint, it's that all this is carried a little too far, and I think it might have ended a bit better with that plunge from the balcony. Still, that's only a small quibble for an original and daring film like this.
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on February 4, 2000
When struggling Buenos Aires' art house owner Adrian (Colin Firth), is forced to take in a border, yuppie business man Jack Carney (Hart Bochner) agrees to share living quarters and expenses.
That Jack is more than he seems at face, and that Adrian is even wierder than one might imagine gives this psychological study in character the foundation it needs to succeed. The film has a very eerie tone, unlike films made currently in the US, and is fraught throughout with political and sexual overtones left for the viewer's interpretation. Think La Ceremonie with male leads and an Argentinean backdrop, or better yet, Neil Simon's The Odd Couple twisted like a pretzel in this early David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Carlito's Way) script.
Challenging viewing not for all tastes, a movie for repertory film, about repertory film, I like it immensely.
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on May 7, 2001
Hollywood could never pull off a movie this hard to define. Set in Buenos Aires, it stars British Colin Firth, whom everyone is seeing stars over due to the new Bridget Jones film, and American Hart Bochner, the definition of attractive leading man if there ever was one. We need more movies with Hart Bochner's face filling the screen! When he rescues the cat on the ledge, it is movie-making magic. Bochner is a mysterious character who shows up and is taken in by Firth. While the film's ending is quite unexpected and, frankly, a little on the weird side, the flow of this film is gorgeous, careening between humanistic character study and slightly gory crime scenes. At its core, it's about a male friendship between two men who are unstable in different ways -- fascinating to watch. Why more people haven't seen this movie, I have no idea ....
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on April 23, 2001
Do you ever feel like you're obsessing about movies just a bit much? Are you TOO good at playing the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game? Do you participate in every daily movie poll at and "Ain't-It-Cool-News"? Have you watched "Pulp Fiction" a hundred times in search of some unifying theme? Or do you know someone who exhibits these symptoms?
If so, it's time for you (or them) to check THIS movie out. "The movie for people who watch too many movies," as I like to call it. As a movie fanatic who's seriously losing touch with the real world, Colin Firth's character makes a superb negative role model. Viewing this film can ONLY be a sobering wakeup call for someone too enamored of cinema.
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on June 9, 1999
It's not often you see a movie that makes you think about how truly lonely people are and what is really meant by friendship and loyalty. These two guys are lonely down to their core, but it is their loneliness that creates a silent loyalty, they drive each other crazy, test one another, and ultimately save one another's souls - or are they damned? (you decide)
Hart Bochner (hubba-hubba) is completely without conscience until his last moment, incredibly sexy, Colin Firth (OK, maybe not so hubba-hubba, but he sure is adorable) is a man of integrity being pushed to the brink, and the final scene with the two of them is nothing short of amazing brutal power - and the ultimate in 'black' comedy.
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on April 18, 2000
I recently watched this movie three times in a row. The acting by Colin Firth and Hart Bochner is first rate. Jack is very likeable and lures people of both sexes. The sexual chemistry between Adrian and Jack is very evident. Adrian is one of several people that Jack seduces and he just has to look at you with his beautiful blue eyes to make you want to do whatever he wants. It is a very interesting look at human nature and it shows us that you can't always judge a book by its cover. People are not always what they appear to be. The ending of the movie was very intense and somewhat surprising. Once again, you can't judge a book by its cover. I highly recommend this movie.
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on April 30, 1999
Even if it weren't for the subtle and powerful political symbolism, this would be one of my all-time favorites just for its queasy, squirmy sense of humor. Every time I watch it I'm overwhelmed by its suspense (no kidding), psychological insight, and hilarity!
True, the structure is a little saggy, and the political agenda becomes more obvious near the end. But this is more than made up for by the vistas it shows us into human need, vulnerability, compulsion and deception. All this and great character acting and a killer sense of comical absurdity. You Betcha!
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on April 5, 2011
Die hard "art-house" fans will love this pre cell phone gem. Smoldering hot city shots of Buenes Aires meld beautifully with scenes of a shirtless Hart Bochner. Oh my! Story? Oh ya... a repertory cinema owner takes a shining to an American drifter. It's two solid hours of drama with several suggestive scenes alluding to the love that dare not speak it's name. Yup! Times have changed. No CGI here! Just one great pic. Film buffs of all stripes can confidently add this one to your import collection.
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on January 26, 2004
"Apartment Zero" is one of the best psychological character studies ever put on film. Colin Firth (in an amazing performance) portrays Adrian LeDuc, a lonely movie theater owner in Buenos Aires whose mentally ill mother is in the hospital.
Adrian and the other misfit tenants in his apartment building (a transvestite, two elderly British alcoholic sisters, a lonely housewife starved for attention, et al) are all smitten by Adrian's charming new roommate, Jack Carney (played by Hart Bochner, who smolders with every close-up). Adrian feels Jack "has a certain James Dean je ne sais quoi," but he soon finds out that his gorgeous roommate is not all he appears to be.
Great acting by Firth and Bochner. Lots of suspense, double-entendre and sexual innuendo, plus an over-the-top ending you'll never forget.
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on August 10, 2006
saw this at the Seattle Film fest in '89 and thought it was quite cool. The casting of Colin Firth was a coup for the filmmakers; he projects the squirmiest sense of psychosis since Anthony Perkins. There are a series of escalatingly creepy scenes between Firth and his crazy mother. Yikes! The gay subtext between Colin Firth's character and Hart Bochner's is nicely played by both actors. I liked the fact that the film wasn't shot or set in the United States. This is a hard film to classify. Is it a serial killer thriller? sort of. Is it a psycho film like Repulsion or The Tenant? Sort of. It has a lot of layers to it and that is something i liked about Apartment Zero. Worth seeing.
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