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Apartment Zero (1988)

A serial killer is loose in Buenos Aires – could he be the mysterious tenant who comes to share Adrian’s apartment? Look away, all those who prefer their Colin Firth wrapped in the soaked shirt guise of Mr Darcy, for you aren’t going to like what you see here.


Adrian LeDuc (Firth) is the frustrated manager of a Buenos Aires cinema that specialises in revivals. After hours, Adrian grudgingly allows his cashier and her friends to use his theatre 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 about renting out part of his apartment.

Fastidious to a fault, Adrian treasures his privacy. His neighbours are busybodies, his potential roommates even worse. But then he meets Jack Carney (Hart Bochner, in an extraordinary performance)  a handsome and dynamic character to whom Adrian – and most of the tenants – develop a fierce attraction.

apartmentzero2After 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 serial 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,  obviously knows his films, but this occasionally intriguing mix of The Lady from Shanghai and The Servant (1963) is often too clever for its own good and runs out of steam long before the inevitable “housemate from hell” plot kicks in.

Adrian LeDuc
Colin Firth
Jack Carney
Hart Bochner
Margaret McKinney
Dora Bryan
Mary Louise McKinney
Liz Smith
Carlos Sanchez-Verne
Fabrizio Bentivoglio
James Telfer
Laura Werpachowsky
Mirella D’Angelo
Alberto Werpachowsky
Juan Vitali
Francesca D’Aloja
Mr Palma
Miguel Ligero
Adrian’s mother
Elvia Andreoli
Mrs Treniev
Cipe Lincovsky
Luis Romero

Martin Donovan