Martin Donovan | 1989 | 124 mins | UK / Argentina
Colin Firth plays Adrian LeDuc, a fusspot movie buff who manages a rep cinema in post-Junta Buenos Aires and has an almost Psycho-esque fixation on his ailing mother, who resides in a mental hospital. Reclusive to the point of absurdity (he’s a native of Argentina but pretends to be British in order to avoid chatting with his neighbours), Adrian is clearly rattled when debt forces him to take on a roommate.
Predictably, he finds a handsome handsome, confident and gregarious polar opposite, Jack Carney (Hart Bochner), to share his flat. Jack is an American expat who works at a local computer firm. He’s charming as hell, and immediately makes friends with the nosy neighbours Adrian warns him to avoid. More used to interacting with dead stars of the silver screen than real humans, Adrian becomes obsessively drawn to his new roommate – doing his laundry, fixing him breakfast and starting spats when he’s late for dinner.
All this takes place during a grizzly murder spree - a serial killer is on the loose, and the police have few leads. As the tone of the story drops, it becomes clear that something is amiss in the strange relationship between the two men in apartment zero. Adrian becomes suspicious of Jack, the neighbours become suspicious of Adrian, and everything takes on a tense and almost comical Tenant-like tone of mistrust while people continue to turn up dead around the city.
It’s hard to say who’s the creepier party in the drama of co-dependence that develops between the punctilious Adrian and the coolly affable Jack, whose relationship becomes more and more eerily touching as the film goes on. A solidly written and well acted thriller that escalates in suspense and black humour to a very enjoyable (if somewhat too sardonic) final act.