Thursday, June 22, 2006

DVD REVIEW: House of Sand and Fog

This afternoon I decided I would finally sit down and watch House of Sand and Fog. I had this movie on my queue at Netflix for at least a year. The reason I have held off on watching this film is due to the depressing nature of the trailer. I kept telling myself this is going to be a good film, and it really is, but just watching the trailer makes me think in the back of my head that it's going to depress me to the point of putting a bullet in my brain. So today of all days I decided what the hell, it's a good movie it's got Jennifer Connelly in it and she look gorgeous in the trailers and it also has Sir Ben Kingsley, who tends to do a lot of crappy movies of late, but this is also the guy who played Gandhi and Itzak Stern from Shindler's List.

Kelly, (Jennifer Connelly) is evicted out of her house by the local government because of a business tax she claims to have never owed. Kelly is already deeply depressed as she is a recovering alcoholic, her husband has left her and it seems that she has a lot of trouble staying afloat financially. As she is being evicted she is comforted by a deputy Sheriff, Lester (Ron Eldard), who becomes romantically involved with Kelly. Almost as soon as Kelly is thrown out literally, on her ass, the government auctions off her house and it is bought by a former Iranian Colonel named Behrani. (Sir Ben Kingsley) In the beginning he appears to be a cold unsympathetic man, but as the story digs deeper we see a man who is out of place in the United States and it's culture, a proud man who loves his family, but has allowed his wild dreams of returning to Iran, and his house on the Caspian Sea, control his destiny which takes a turn into a cruel tragedy. While on the other hand Kelly has lost her sense of purpose and identity and decides that the house she was mistakenly evicted from is the cure to all of her suffering. Her new boyfriend Lester, who is convinced Kelly has been wronged not only by the government but the Behrani's themselves, tries fervently to push the Behrani's out of her house. While Kelly falls deeper and deeper into an almost suicidal tailspin.

Sounds like a fun movie huh. As depressing as this film was it was shot very well by the very talented Roger Deakins. The performances were extraordinary, especially from the ensemble cast like Behrani's wife Nadi (Shohreh Aghdashloo); she brought a Middle Eastern grace to the role that I have never seen in mainstream film before. In a sense this film also did what I felt Crash did last year, smashing the differences between ethnicities, old world and new world.
This was a powerful film about generally good people who have many chances to take a step back and do the right thing, unfortunately, because of their human weaknesses they end up turning the blade rather than stop the bleeding.
Grade: 4 Buckets

1 comment:

Speck said...

The movie is fantastic.

I had the pleasure of watching this when I worked at AFI. Which was followed by a q & a with the director.

Every problem I had with this film the director had as well. He knew and plainly admitted his faults. I completely respected him for that.

Shohreh Aghdashloo was a very famous Iranian actress because coming to the states.

And Matt Petrosky was an AC on the crew that shot all the time-lapse photography.