starring Anthony LaPaglia, Viola Davis, Isabella Rossellini, Hayden Panettiere
written and directed by Matt Tauber
by Walter Chaw I am sick to death of pieces of shit like Matt Tauber's The Architect--sick of the White Guilt Trip, which here finds architect Leo (Anthony LaPaglia) the boogeyman behind all the cultural evils housed in the Cabrini-Green tenement he designed. When he protests to neo-Alfre Woodard Neely (Viola Davis) that he's just the mastermind behind the building's outline and thus unaccountable for the collapse of urban civilization housed therein, the effect is one of outrage not at the arrogance of The Man, but at the cult of victimhood nursed by people like Tauber. By disempowering the film's blacks of even their own fall, Tauber performs an act of racism so odious that his next picture should be about these stock ghetto characters (the righteous mom, the good girl, the drug dealer, the dreamer) demanding an explanation as to why he's perpetuated these damning stereotypes in the guise of laying the paddle to hapless whitey. The picture meanwhile casts Isabella Rossellini as a variation on the same crazy suburban housewife Edie Falco played in The Quiet (and Juliette Binoche played in Bee Season--the better analogy for its complementary boy/girl child and rich/poor sub-dramas) and Hayden Panettiere as the teen-queen doing her best to get raped in the back of a semi-trailer, the better to allegorize her parents' disintegrating marriage and her brother's (Sebastian Stan) simultaneously-unfolding realization that he'd very much like to shag project-hustler-with-a-heart-of-gold Shawn (Paul James). Said events do not and do happen, respectively, with the gay union punished in typical gay-union fashion as Shawn swan-dives off Leo's precious edifice in an act of society-restoring self-loathing. Would that Shawn and Leo do the same as they gaze moonily into one another's eyes while the curtain falls on this umpteenth revival of contemptuous liberal cinema. My only question, doubly rhetorical because he might as well be if he isn't: Is Tauber a Canadian filmmaker?