out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
House Of Sand and Fog
|*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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