"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Friday, May 9, 2008

DVD Review: House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog looked like a suspenseful thriller, but turned out to be a dark tragic drama. A little slow in pace until the end but nonetheless riveting and quite realistic.

A young woman who has been struggling with sobriety and her husband leaving her, has only the house her father left her keeping her sane. Suddenly a problem she considered not serious comes back to haunt her when the government evicts her from the home over an unpaid business tax of $500 that she doesn't owe. Forced from her home, the house is put up for county auction. An Iranian immigrant, working incredibly hard to build a life for his family buys the home for a low cost and is determined to sell it for four times the cost.

Kathy, the former owner's life is on a downward spiral as she involves herself with a married cop, starts drinking again, and has no money. She begins to clash with the new owners of the house who refuse to leave unless she pays the asking price. Everything spirals out of control as her new boyfriend threatens the new owners, Kathy attempts suicide, and in a final desperate maneuver Kathy's boyfriend takes the new owners hostage in a bid to get him to give up the house but ends in disastrous circumstances.

Ben Kingsley gives an amazing performance as the Iranian Colonel and head of his family. His character is riveting and interesting. He's calm but mysterious and you can see he's had a violent past. He simply wants to give his family the absolute best and create for them in America what they had in Iran. His wife is a woman trying to understand what's around her but it's all new and her lack of English hinders her. Jennifer Connelly plays Kathy, the desperate, hurting, former owner. She also does an excellent job playing the desperation and hurt and feelings of being lost.

I know that everyone in this film has a sordid past and I am dropping into only the final straw of these people's harsh existence. Watching their spiral downwards is disturbing. The director does an amazing job of making me feel these people's emotions, which are the most intense I think I have seen in a film.

The film is a definite take on human emotion and how a small thing can steamroll lives and end up tragically. I was also impressed with the use of East Indian culture, showing us a different side of their lives in America rather than the usual harsh stereotypes. Also I think I would have rather seen a different ending, although I understand it completely and see the tragedy in it, I don't believe Kingsley's character would have handled things in that way. But then tragedy takes us all different. Kingsley is the shining star of the film turning in a drop dead amazing performance. Check this one out for something intelligent.

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