House of Sand and Fog

Sunday, July 29, 2007
Hopefully, no spoilers...

This film was not what I had expected from the previews I had remembered seeing. Sure, I knew the basic premise: home owner loses house over some beaurocratic booboo, immigrant family buys house at auction for a steal, conflict ensues. However, I didn't realize how emotionally involved I had become in the story line until the last 30 minutes. After a number of confrontations, not all of them pretty, the former homeowner, her Sheriff boyfriend, and the new owners eventually agree on a plan that will see everyone happy in the end. However, the plan goes horribly wrong and I ended up sobbing uncontrollably. That's all I'm going to say as I don't want to ruin it for anyone. I certainly didn't expect what happened. The downworld spiral continues through to the end of the film and I was caught quite offguard0. It did not turn out as expected and certainly does NOT have a typical Hollywood happy ending. For that I'm extremely grateful. It's refreshing to see that everything doesn't always work out for the "best".

While not a lot seems to "happen" in the film, there are some major underlying issues at work including racism, prejudice, abuse of power, and the filmmakers did a fantastic job without making it too obvious what the message was that they were trying to convey. There's a great deal of symbolism as well as which at first one might pass off as cultural differences but everything becomes clear in the end. It's also one of those films that you're not sure really who to root for. Most typical slop that US movie studios put out have a definate hero and an obvious villian. Not so with House of Sand and Fog. And I haven't even mentioned the cinematography. The visuals in this film are absolutely stunning (I think that's the cinematographer's job? Shea can correct me if I'm wrong...).


The acting throughout the film is amazing - what less would you expect from Ben Kingsley. It's also apparent why Jennifer Connelly won an Oscar a few years ago. She was terrific as a recovering down on her luck addict. Is this the same girl from Labyrinth? You betcha. As well, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Mrs. Behrani (Kingsley's wife) was brilliant. The only downside in terms of acting (isn't there always one?) was Ron Eldard as Connelly's "saviour"/lover. I didn't think he could act when he was on E.R. and this just re-enforced my opinion.


Definately Captain recommended. If you haven't seen it, bring a giant box of kleenex. It may not seem that you need it for most of the movie but trust me. You will towards the end. I've watched movies before where I've shed a few tears, and even cried (don't get me talking about Annie) but I was litterally sobbing at the end (we're talking the heaving, hard to breathe, snot dripping kind of sobbing). The movie is an adaptation of Andres Dubus' novel of the same name.

I will admit that I started watching this yesterday but turned it off half way through. While the story was interesting, it really wasn't pulling me in...or so I thought. I couldn't stop thinking about it today and wondering how it would turn out. So, to try to take my mind off of the heat and humidity, I popped it back in to see if I could finish it. I was so glad that I did. Please don't take this to mean that I found the first half boring. It wasn't; the Captain just finds the heat distracting...

ENJOY.

4 comments:

Wandering Coyote said...

OK - I will now go in search of an illegal copy of this one, too. Thanks for the review. I'd heard it was great, but just haven't gotten around to seeing it yet.

Sheamus the... said...

this was one of my few veiwing experiences where I was at a groups house watching it with people who really didnt care. I remember being pretty disappointed with it...but then again I cant remember much about it which can only mean while watching with a noisy group we were only looking for the glitz and instead got the shitz. I dont even know what that means. I was just having fun.

* (asterisk) said...

I remember being mildly bemused, perhaps because it wasn't quite what I was expecting. But it was still pretty good overall. Glad you liked!

Candy Minx said...

Enjoyed your review hre and glad you liked th tragic story so much. I found this one quite difficult and depressing. It is an interesting mix of feeling like film noir and yet a drama too. Very sad story...but very well conceived yes.

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