Review: ‘The Belly of an Architect’

The Belly of an Architect is a visual treat, almost an homage to the style of Rome's architecture, lensed with skill and packed with esoteric nuances, but doubts about the story and the skill of the acting linger.

The Belly of an Architect is a visual treat, almost an homage to the style of Rome’s architecture, lensed with skill and packed with esoteric nuances, but doubts about the story and the skill of the acting linger.

The belly in question is the stomach of a US architect, played by a suitably paunchy Brian Dennehy, who arrives in Rome with his fickle wife to set up an exhibition celebrating French architect Boullee. He becomes convinced he is being slowly poisoned by his wife (Chloe Webb) who is having an affair with a rival Italian architect (Lambert Wilson).

Dennehy, usually spotted in Yank actioners, makes an admirable effort as the troubled architect, but the rest of the cast – mostly European – turn in generally poor efforts. Webb as his wife looks okay, but her voice (apt in Sid and Nancy) just seems irritating, while Wilson as the rival architect/lover is little more than a clotheshorse.

The Belly of an Architect

UK

Production

Callender/Film Four/British Screen. Director Peter Greenaway; Producer Colin Callender, Walter Donohue; Screenplay Peter Greenaway; Camera Sacha Vierny; Editor John Wilson; Music Wim Mertens, Glenn Branca; Art Director Luciana Vedovelli

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

Brian Dennehy Chloe Webb Lambert Wilson Sergio Fantoni
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