In this film each unhappy family is, to a greater or lesser extent, the architect of its own demise.Many people have criticised the film for not saying much, or for being overloaded with story lines; for not following through or following through too explicitly. All in all it clearly confuses and divides people. I think there is a problem and it is not the movie that has the problem but the audience.This story touches on some of the last taboos in cinema namely the actual visualisation of homosexual sex, and even worse in the eyes of the beholders it addresses incest. The cross cultures/cross races thing seems to me to be a side issue to the main problem illustrated here which is that each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way to quote Tolstoy (apt here as Shawn the black homosexual is reading "Anna Karenina" at one point in the action, and like Anna unable to come to terms with himself and the world in which he lives, eventually commits suicide.)The film comes originally from a stage play set in Glasgow. Some of the dialogue has been lifted straight from the play and so can sound a little stilted, but in my opinion this device helps to maintain the necessary distance between the action and the audience. This plainly is an allegorical piece, each actor fulfils a function rather than a character but the story is none the worse for that; many art house movies do likewise. It is the subject matter here that is so difficult. As for the actual movie, it looks good, in fact is amazing considering it was shot in 20 days in New York masquerading as Chicago (I assume to keep the costs down). The acting by the whole ensemble is excellent. And I think one has to give Anthony LaPaglia especial praise as the Architect in question clearly in the grip of an incestuous passion. This cannot be an easy kind of role for any actor to play, but, as one has come to expect of Mr LaPaglia, he carries it off to perfection which may go a long way to explain the uncomfortableness felt by some moviegoers. Within his oeuvre this film seems almost like a companion piece to the more hopeful "Winter Solstice". My advice to anyone wishing to see "The Architect" would be to go along with an open mind, expect to be challenged and perhaps you'll come away with the same feelings as me, that this is a good film, a thought-provoking film but not one to watch just for the pure fun of it, go and see Mr LaPaglia's other current film "Happy Feet" if you want that!
Architect Leo Waters' marriage is in trouble, his wife Julia unhappy. Their son Martin drops out of college; he's home, adrift and out of sorts with Leo. Daughter Christina has entered her mid-teens with a new body and new feelings. Enter Tonya Neely, a community organizer who lives in high-rise public housing Leo designed years' before. The residents want the projects razed; she comes to Leo asking him to sign her petition. He's put off; Julia supports Tonya. Martin goes to see for himself and begins a friendship with homo-erotic potential. In the meantime, Christina puts herself at risk seeking affirmation. High pitched emotions and high-rise apartments: what will collapse first?
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September 21, 2012 at 5:57 am