DIRECTED BY - Matt Tauber
Based on a play by David Greig, THE ARCHITECT stirs together issues of class, race, sexuality, and architecture, then heats up to create potent sociological drama. Anthony LaPaglia stars as Leo, a close-minded Chicago architect/college professor whose family is coming apart at the seams: older son Martin (Sebastian Stan) is troubled by his emerging homosexuality, Leo's 15-year old daughter (Hayden Panettiere) has begun acting out sexually in a misguided search for affection, and his high-strung wife (Isabella Rossellini) is headed towards a complete nervous breakdown. If that wasn't enough, African American activist Tonya (Viola Lee Davis) visits his classroom in an attempt to get him to sign a petition to have a housing project he designed torn down. He won't do it, claiming the building is soundly constructed, but Tonya's lived there long enough to know it's crushing the souls of its residents; her son even committed suicide to get away from it. In his refusal to accept responsibility or respond to the pain of others--both within and without his own four walls--Leo's carefully constructed world seems doomed to topple over. First time writer/director Matt Tauber provides lots of cross-cutting between the squalor of life in the projects vs. the cushy but sterile suburban residences in Chicago's other neighborhoods. Performance are excellent all around, elevating the characters beyond mere types: the scenes with Davis and LaPaglia are particularly electric.
GENRES - drama