One of my all time faves!
Omni | 06/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What makes this film so good is how dangerous it is. It teeters on the edge of homosexuality and true friendship and at the same time casts Colin Firth as almost a damsel on the edge of madness to Hart Bochners rogue character. This movie is set in Buenos Aires and and creates a political climate, a delicate madness and an under current of so many divergent sexualities that fuel the film and keep pulling the rope taunter and taunter.
What makes this film so good is how eventually Firth's character expresses his love for a man who is a ne'erdowell and always will be. He goes to the brink of madness and violence but never of sexuality which is what twists this fikm in upon itself. Eventually it seems as if the relationship between the two becomes too fraught with peril for sex but all of there actions for each other are sexualized.
What I find interesting about this movie is that it in no way compromises its sexuality to be politically correct and instead challenges the watcher to stick with it thru a byzantine plot of identity that switches the nerd for the rogue and then the rogue for the nerd. Both men ultimately have no identity. firth's character by harsh abuse racked upon him by his family and currently dementia trapped mother and Bochner thru the way he must live for his terrorist lifestyle.
In the end Firth learns to absorb Bochner's character to have an identity and Bochner hesitates and theefore loses his own. The best movies are about things that are intangibly exchanged thru the physical world of actions representing so much more."
Dark psychological horror.
Steven Sprague | Newport Beach, CA | 01/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Argentina has been called a "country of Spanish-speaking Italians who live in French houses and want to be English." This is even more so in the capital of Buenos Aires. A city with an identity crisis, and a people uncertain about the future and haunted by a past of corruption and terror. A claustrophobic, anxious environment that is the setting for this film. Adrian, the resident of Apartment Zero, has created within that space a controlled, sanitized existence into which the outside world cannot penetrate. He purposefully avoids intimacy of any kind, preferring to absorb himself in a celluloid reality of male screen idols (Montgomery Clift, James Dean) and classic American movies. The outside world begins to close in on Adrian after his institutionalized mother dies and the necessity of having a cash-flow forces him to rent one of the rooms in his flat. The prospect of a suitable flat mate is grim until Jack walks into the room. As Adrian puts it, Jack possesses a certain "James Dean je ne sais quoi." Jack turns out to be a chameleon of a man, who is also a quick study of human weakness and insecurity. In a short time, Jack has Adrian, along with the other lonely residences in the apartment complex, dependent upon his affections. All the while this interaction is going on, the "classic American" movie theater that Adrian operates, is now being used to show films from Argentina's past in an effort to hunt down former members of the death squads that once held the country in a state of terror. And staring in one of the reels is Adrian's very own screen idol Jack!"
Atmospheric, haunting, compelling
Ann Shillinglaw | 05/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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 ...."
Erotic Collector | Santa Barbara, CA | 02/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this film at the NuArt in L.A. when it first came out. I had no idea what the movie was about, and maybe that's why I liked it so much. Going in blind, without having heard anything, made the film so much more powerful. For years, I thought about the film and then I rented it again when staying at the Paramount hotel in NY. And the film lived up to my memory. Now, that I own it, I watch this film over and over, and honestly, I'm not sure why. None of my friends like it nearly as much as I do. But there is something about the relationship between the two main characters, as well as the relationships with the people in the building that resonates with me."