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House Of Sand and Fog

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: House Of Sand and Fog

Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley
Director: Vadim Perelman
Rated: R
RunTime: 126 Minutes
Release Date: December 2003
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Ron Eldard, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Ashley Edner, Frances Fisher, Kia Jam, Navi Rawat, Jonathan Ahdout, Namrata Cooper, Samira Damavandi, Frank Gallegos

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

The story begins as Kathy Nicolo (Jennifer Connolly), a recovering alcoholic, is evicted from her home on the California coast for non-payment of $500 in taxes. The shabby, mist-shrouded bungalow is seized, put up for auction and purchased by a once-wealthy but now hard-laboring Iranian ‚migr‚, Col. Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kingsley), who views the property as an investment that will secure the American Dream for his long-suffering wife (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and their teenage son (Jonathan Ahdout). Desperate, Kathy enlists the help of a Deputy Sheriff (Ron Eldard) whose loveless marriage has left him ripe for an affair. What begins as a legal battle escalates into a personal confrontation - with devastating results.

Based Andre Dubus III's best-seller, writer/director Vadim Perelman and co-writer Shawn Otto, have cleverly crafted a perfectly cast, character-driven conflict into which the audience is inexorably drawn. Ben Kingsley is an Oscar-worthy marvel, exuding stubborn conviction meshed with pride, dignity and intelligence, while Jennifer Connolly radiates dark vulnerability. However, the writing of her character has a major flaw: while she blames others, she's clearly the victim of her own stupidity and negligence by not opening her mail. It's difficult to feel sympathy for someone who's that self-destructive. Roger Deakins' cinematography is simple yet evocative, as is Maia Javan's production design. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The House of Sand and Fog" is a chilling, suspenseful 9. It's powerful, compelling story-telling.

Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger

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