In Chicago in 1924, Artie Strauss and Judd Steiner are friends and fellow law students who come from wealthy backgrounds. They have few true friends as they believe all their contemporaries to be intellectually inferior. Although Judd acts arrogantly towards others his inherent weakness is understood and exploited by Artie and indeed Judd appears to relish his submissiveness to Artie. Part of their goal in life, influenced perhaps by their admiration for Nietzsche, is to experience how it feels to do anything one pleases. They thus plot to commit what they consider the perfect crime - a kidnapping and murder - not only in order to experience killing for killing's sake, but also - especially in Artie's case - to taunt the authorities after the fact. They believe themselves above the law. The actual killing of little Paulie Kessler, and the subsequent attempts to cover their tracks, are not so perfect however. Sid Brooks, a fellow student (who also works for the Globe newspaper) whom ...Written by
Huggo, edited with some additional material by Chrid
When the murdered boy is in the morgue, his uncle recognizes him instantly, and the coroner doesn't mention to the young journalist (who found the glasses) that the kid had acid burned all over his face so he couldn't be identified. In the real life case, his face was burned and, most importantly, at the very end of the movie, Orson Welles as the defending attorney mentions that the murdered boy's face was burned with acid. See more »
I don't know why I'm so attracted to this vulnerable weirdos. From Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho to Colin Firth as Adrian Leduc in Apartment Zero, darkness and a fragility that is part of the unbearable suspense. Maybe I'm in need of professional attention but I don't think so. What attracts me is by the undeniable innocence behind the horror and that has a lot, if not everything, to do with the actors playing them. Look at Anthony Perkins in Psycho! 57 years ago and it still looks and feels kind of revolutionary or Colin Firth in Apartment Zero, the character is so unique and real that you can see it a thousand times and always find some new extra something, then Dean Stockwell in Compulsion. He plays a monster, a sick, pathetic prince of a man. Yes all of that. The humanity of the actor makes the monster human and we can't dismiss him, he doesn't allow us. Orson Welles has a great entrance into the film and E.G Marshall is superb as per usual, it is the rest of the cast who seem a bit dated, specially when sharing the frame with the extraordinary Dean Stockwell
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