The Architect




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September 21, 2012 at 5:57 am



Anthony LaPaglia as Leo Waters
Viola Davis as Tonya Neely
Isabella Rossellini as Julia Waters
Hayden Panettiere as Christina Waters
720p 1080p
599.36 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 0 / 0
1.20 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 0 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gradyharp 9 / 10

A Small Independent Film with a Big Message

THE ARCHITECT is a film based on a play by David Grieg that deals with social class dichotomy, lack of communication in families, gender confrontations in youths, and coming to grips with decisions of the past that later haunt. Made on a budget less than a million dollars and shot in twenty days, this unique little movie packs a wallop in the most secretive and subtle way. Directed by Matt Tauber, who also wrote the screenplay with Grieg, it has a fascinating, if at times disconcerting, format of quick scenes flashed before our eyes like simultaneous conversations - and some of the power of the film is piecing those snapshots together as the film ends.

Leo Waters (Anthony LaPaglia) is a successful architect, married to a wife Julia (Isabella Rossellini) who seems on the edge of mental instability. They have two teenage children - Christine (a very fine young actress Hayden Panettiere) who at age 15 is aware of her body and yet fearful of its implications in her interactions with boys and men, and Martin (Sebastian Stan) who has returned home from school as a drop out whose mind is preoccupied with soul searching. The discord at home is matched by the incipient calamity ongoing at a Project Leo designed early in his career, a Project now physically crumbling under the weight of drug dealing, crime, and discontent tenants - all led by activist Tonya Neeley (the superb actress Viola Davis) who has one daughter at home with an early conceived baby and another daughter who has stepped out of the Projects to better her education (her twin brother committed suicide in despair of his plight in the Projects). Two families in conflict over different reasons on the surface but sharing a similarity that is demonstrated as the story proceeds.

Christina naively begins to frequent bars and is protected by a truck driver Joe (the very fine actor Walton Goggins) who kindly introduces her to the realities facing hormonally charged yet fearful young girls. Martin, in an attempt to understand the Projects problem as explained to his father and family by Tonya, visits the Projects and meets Shawn (the very fine and handsome young actor Paul James) who cautiously helps Martin discover his sexuality only to succeed in allowing Martin to discover his true sexual proclivity but meets a sad ending when he is rebuffed.

At the peak of tensions Tonya succeeds in winning over Leo's understanding of her activist dilemma, Julia breaks and leaves her family and both of Leo's children discover life lessons that will imprint their psyches permanently. Minor victories rise out of major turmoil - and the writer and director have the courage to leave the story for us to resolve.

It is refreshing to encounter a cast of actors so sensitive as this one. From the leading roles to the most minor of characters the acting is absolutely first rate. We need more films of this caliber to remind us that one of the purposes of art is to allow us to see the problems of our world. Highly recommended. Grady Harp

Reviewed by Mobiz35 8 / 10

A challenging and entertaining film

I saw The Architect at the Tribeca Film festival earlier this year, and it has really stuck with me. It's one of those movies that asks tough questions about difficult issues like race, sexual identity and economic justice, and leaves room for the viewer to form their own opinions. Unlike the movie Crash, which deals with many of the same themes, there are no spoon fed answers in this film. Instead of one dimensional characters the Architect brings to life some complex and flawed individuals, and shows us their struggles to find the right path. Some really strong performances here, especially from Viola Davis. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by transient-2 5 / 10

wobbly malaise

Imagine yourself on a riverbank prodding mud with a stick; the dirt is unsettled, stirs in the water, settles down again. In this film we're introduced to a number of characters who cross paths, and whose conflicts overlap on occasion before settling to a passive resolution.

The confrontation between the architect of a dilapidated housing project and a dissatisfied resident forms the central vein in a network of sadly uninteresting stories.

There is no surprise, and no insight brought to the representation of a young girl who in alienation craves affection; nor to the truck driver who doesn't want to ruin her first time; nor to the teenage boy accepting he's gay, nor to the grieving mother in the projects and finally, there is no insight into the proud man who doesn't want to admit his ego blinds him. Here we find a few people we've all seen before. They barely talk to each other and - unlike real people - when they do talk they say exactly what you'd expect them to say. Don't be tricked into thinking this film is asking any kind of question about family or race. If that's true, what's the question? The pretentious and two-dimensional nature of this writing is most transparent in the final scene wherein the architect and his son meet on a rooftop in the projects. Finally they have something to talk about: through my actions I have been the architect of someone's suffering, but there was no indication that I should have done anything differently - like father like son? Well, here the film ends abruptly, safe, risk-free. Not taking risks in your writing is not especially clever, let's not make a point of it.

And unlike any number of films where stronger character sketches guide the narrative, time is linear in this picture; you won't see events intertwining or taking place simultaneously, nothing is revealed as cause or effect. "Crash", to which this film has been compared, and "American Beauty" had engaging narrative formats that compelled you to unravel a mystery. A director is an architect of sorts, and the director of this film is just like the architect he depicts - he's merely housing people in a flat, familiar, boring rectangle. There's no drama or vision, so we have to ask: what's the function?

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