No film that begins with the end of Touch of Evil can be all bad, but it won't win any prizes for humility either. Adrian (Firth) runs a struggling rep cinema in Buenos Aires. Empty houses oblige him to take a lodger, Jack Carney (Bochner). Carney is as laid-back and friendly as Adrian is repressed and paranoid, and soon insinuates himself into the life of the apartment block, his killer charm seducing young and old, male and female alike. He's Adrian's fantasy and his nemesis, for neither man is what he seems. Up to this point the movie comes on like Polanski's The Tenant buggered by Losey's The Servant: a heady A to Z of male melodrama with existential pretensions and film-buff iconography. Then a dose of political realism lurches us into violent thriller territory. The result is largely unconvincing; the dialogue sounds like translation, and the direction also has an affected air, An extraordinary over-emphasis on extreme close-up abandons Bochner in particular to no man's land. Donovan clearly believes he has another James Dean on his hands, but the curling lip and arched brow more often suggest Presley's Blue Hawaii period.
Cast and crew
Martin Donovan, David Koepp