Apartment Zero
Starz / Anchor Bay // R // $18.69 // February 20, 2007
Review by Juliet Farmer | posted January 29, 2007
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Graphical Version
The Movie:
Apartment Zero, which was released in theatres in 1988, has finally found its way to DVD--again. Apparently this is not the first DVD release of A-Z, as it was released in the mid 90s by a small, independent distributor, in a bare-bones, pan and scan version, with no added material.

As for the film itself, Colin Firth plays Adrian LeDuc, the owner of a small cinema who is antisocial and living in close quarters with several busy-body neighbors. He eventually lets his guard down when he invites a stranger into his life to share his apartment.

That stranger, Jack Carney, is played by Hart Bochner, who brings charisma to the screen while he woos and flirts his way into the apartments and lives of his new roommate and neighbors.

The film, set in Beunos Aires, blends quirky characters with the culture of the time. This was writer David Koepp's first screenplay (he went on to pen notable hits such as Death Becomes Her, Jurassic Park, The Paper, Mission: Impossible, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Stir of Echoes, Panic Room, Spider-man, Secret Window, and War of the Worlds).

Given that the main character, LeDuc, immerses himself in the world of film, there are plenty of references to classics (LeDuc and Carney even play the game of three--name three actors and guess what movie they were all in together).

The DVD

Video:
Updates to this film, presented in widescreen format, include a 1.78 aspect ratio enhanced for 16x9 televisions, with closed caption for the hearing impaired. Even with the updates, to me the film still had average picture quality, much like any other movie from this time period would.

Sound: This newly digitally re-mastered version of the theatrical edit features enhanced 5.1 sound and is spoken in English. The sound was good, except when it came to the director's commentary in the special features (see below).

Extras: Special features include running commentary with director Martin Donovan, and running commentary with writer/producer David Koepp and Steven Soderbergh.

While I found the director's commentary to be dry and difficult to follow (he spoke very quietly, and with an accent), the banter between Koepp and Soderbergh was lively and entertaining and they discussed everything from the way writing and location weave together in films, to working with a limited budget and the challenges that presents (especially when shooting on location and incorporating that location into the film).

Final Thoughts:
This film explores insanity, loneliness and isolation (even self-imposed), and how they all play a role in social interaction. Even more so, it reinforces the concept that looks can be deceiving, and that we never really know what someone is thinking (or thinking of doing).



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