House of Sand and Fog (2003)

House of Sand and Fog (2003)

Premise: Kathy (Jennifer Connelly) has lost her family home due to a bureaucratic error, and a former Iranian colonel (Ben Kingsley) and his family move in for a rock-bottom price. Neither is willing to budge, and their turf tussle soon becomes a tragedy.

Results: Perhaps the first real estate thriller, House of Sand and Fog is a smartly written, emotionally harrowing film with phenomenal acting. Kingsley is superb and deserves a Best Actor nomination. Shohreh Aghdashloo is heartbreaking as Kingsley’’s wife, who doesn’’t know a lot of English but loses sleep over the word “”deportation.”” The drama is meant to convey that both sides have a convincing claim to the house, but who are audiences going to side with, an American screw-up who could have avoided the whole mess by mailing in a letter, or a hard-working family ere the son is willing to take a second paper route to help out? The final act is a bit overly bleak, and the cop boyfriend character is an easy go-to for plot turns. House of Sand and Fog is one of the more compelling films of the year. What more could you want in a prestige picture?

Nate’’s Grade: B+

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About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on December 10, 2003, in 2003 Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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