Apartment Zero

Martin Donovan’s second feature (1988), set in Buenos Aires, is an exciting if occasionally overblown thriller centered on the relationship between a repressed cinephile (Colin Firth) and a charismatic American (Hart Bochner) who share a flat, a number of neighbors in the same building (including a lonely wife, two English ladies, and an abused transvestite), and a string of serial murders that seem linked to the Argentinean death squads. As various as all these strands may appear to be, Donovan ties them together into a provocative and haunting psychological horror story laced with black humor that is especially suggestive about the ambiguous profile of the American abroad. Baroque in style, with echoes of Hitchcock and Polanski (among others), and an impressively aggressive score by Elia Cmiral, this is a powerful, pungent work that shouldn’t be missed. (JR)

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