House of Sand and Fog

2003

Drama /

15
IMDb Rating 7.7

Synopsis


Downloaded 49554 times
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1080p 720p
2.40G
R
English
/
126 min
P/S 171 / 439
749.15M
1280*720
R
English
23.976 /
126 min
P/S 377 / 3896

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by eht5y 10

Since antiquity, tragedy has been regarded as the highest and most important form of drama for its ability to arouse the deepest sense of pathos and empathy from its audience.<br/><br/>Remind yourself of this if you choose to watch &#39;House of Sand and Fog.&#39; I can state emphatically that &#39;House&#39; is one of the most artfully directed and acted films of the last five years, but make no mistake: it is a tragedy, and only the hardest and most jaded of hearts will emerge from the experience undisturbed. It is a dissertation on sorrow, and while I&#39;m glad I saw it, I can&#39;t say I had a whole lot of fun.<br/><br/>&#39;House&#39; was directed by newcomer Vadim Perelman, who also adapted the screenplay from the acclaimed novel by Andre Dubus III. Perelman tweaks the story in some respects but is ultimately faithful to the novel&#39;s style and sensibility. As in the novel, the story is filtered through alternating perspectives, the foremost of which are Behrani (Ben Kingsley), a Persian ex-pat and a former high-ranking officer under the Shah in Iran, and Kathy Lazaro (Jennifer Connelly), a severely depressed recovering alcoholic tenuously holding onto sobriety but nevertheless gradually self-destructing after the collapse of her marriage.<br/><br/>The two characters are drawn together, appropriately enough, by the house of the title, a small but elegant coastal property in fictional Pacific County, California (the novel sets the house in Malibu). The house belongs to Kathy, who inherited it (along with her older brother, who lives elsewhere) from her deceased father. Kathy has become a victim of a bureaucratic snafu--she has been erroneously charged with delinquency on taxes for a non-existent business--but due to her textbook depressive refusal to open and answer her mail, she wakes up one morning to find that the county has evicted her and put her property up for auction.<br/><br/>Enter Colonel Behrani, a regal man of aristocratic bearing whose ruthless determination to maintain the standard of living his family has always been accustomed to is simultaneously honorable and pathetic. Behrani is the story&#39;s tragic hero in the classical sense. Behrani has been saving and shrewdly watching the classified ads waiting for a chance to snap up a foreclosure at a cut rate price, make modest renovations, and then resell the property at peak market value in order to acquire a six-figure nest-egg to fund his son&#39;s education and improve his family&#39;s future prospects in the US. Fortuitously, the house he buys at auction--Kathy&#39;s house--is a coastal property bearing some resemblance to his former home on the Caspian Sea, back before his family fled Iran. The house is seen in an early flashback, an eerie montage wherein a younger Behrani in full-dress service uniform observes as a row of enormous trees are severed at the trunk so that the sea will be visible from the balcony where he stands.<br/><br/>To elaborate the plot further would be too revealing, so I&#39;ll simply say that the lead performances in this film are sublime. I didn&#39;t think at first that I&#39;d be able to believe the stunningly beautiful Jennifer Connelly as Kathy, a woman who redefines the term &#39;self-destructive,&#39; and yet Connelly manages once again as she did in &#39;A Beautiful Mind&#39; to prove that her talent and skill match or even exceed the looks. It really goes without saying that Ben Kingsley&#39;s Behrani is a stunning performance--Kingsley is a mesmerizingly charismatic screen presence and a chameleonic character actor; few actors in the history of film have been able to so convincingly disappear into their characters while projecting such a distinctive, distinguished persona. Both actors master these demanding roles such that the audience feels a broad scope of contradictory and ambiguous emotions towards their characters; neither is completely sympathetic nor despicable, and though in the Aristotelian sense Behrani is the story&#39;s tragic hero, it&#39;s resolution remains ambiguous, as does the ultimate responsibility for the tragic denouement.<br/><br/>The direction of the film has its occasional hitches, but many of Vadim Perelman&#39;s shots are brilliantly captivating. The Northern California coastline is exploited to maximum effect, and Perelman offers numerous shots and angles of seamless appeal--they are original and engaging without feeling forced or consciously &#39;film-schoolish.&#39; It&#39;s quite a beautiful movie to look at, from the meticulous arrangement of the Behrani&#39;s luxurious furniture and decorations to the patience with which Perelman lets his actors&#39; nuanced facial expressions and physical gestures unfold the depths of their characters.<br/><br/>I have some slight reservation about recommending the film simply because its tragedy is so unmerciful. And there are moments where you may find yourself exasperated with the characters and unwilling to maintain your sympathy for them. Personally, I think it&#39;s worth a look for the quality of the performances alone. It&#39;s also quite original and distinctive in style. It&#39;s devastatingly sad, however, and so should be reserved for appropriate moods.

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Reviewed by josh88-1 10

In a tragedy that only the likes of Sophocles or Shakespeare could recreate, the film House of Sand and Fog proves that some dreams really can&#39;t be shared. The American dream is shattered for Colonel Behrani and Kathy Nicolo in this movie of devastating beauty. It is a film about the relentless struggle between an Iranian man and a post-alcoholic over a small house near a Californian beach. When Kathy loses her house due to county error, Behrani buys it for the sake of money and self-pride. Their worlds clash when they realize there is no perfect solution to this mistake, ending with a shockingly tragic twist. The acting put forth in this film was nothing less of amazing. Ben Kinglsey, as always, played his role as if he was really in it, really showing us his point of view and displaying his need for the house. Jennifer Connely played her role beautifully as well, showing the inward spiral she was facing and how her depression finally took her over. The story was nearly flawless with a few money and law errors. However, the tragic themes of the film ring through nonetheless. With a little less than a superior performance from Ron Eldard, the film still had wonderful acting and brilliant film technique. Based on the best-selling novel by Andre Dubus III, director Vadim Perelman does an incredible job of staying true to the novel, and using a few Russian film techniques to give a sense of emotion. This type of film truly will tug at your heart and bring tears, yet will give a sense of appreciation for the human life.

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Reviewed by breakneck 10

&quot;House of Sand and Fog&quot; is by far the finest film I&#39;ve seen this year, and probably the best I&#39;ve seen since the dial turned from the 1990&#39;s into the new millennium.<br/><br/>Vadim Perelman makes a movie so astoundingly beautiful that one has to think he&#39;s been doing this for years, but this is his first film. Set in a fog-drenched Southern California community, Perelman sets two immoveable forces apart from each other -- Cathy, a recovering alcoholic burdened by the memory of her late father, still trying to prove that she is a responsible person in his eyes, and Behrani, a colonel driven out of Iran with his family and desperately trying to maintain a life of stability and promise. In these two roles, Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley give steely performances, each presenting troubled souls trapped within stubborn facades. Connelly once again gives a masterful performance, balancing a reckless sensuality with the desire to find acceptance and love within anything, even a house where the memories have become so painful that the mail becomes too much to take.<br/><br/>Kingsley, of course, is perfect. The subtleties of his facial expressions when presented with moments of joy and frustration are masterfully restrained. This is his best performance of his illustrious career.<br/><br/>When Kingsley and Connelly finally clash, halfway through the movie, the movie, having until then been a paean to silence and unspoken loyalties, becomes a terrifying thriller, riveting everyone with whom I saw the picture. Perelman moves from a mood piece to a suspenseful drama effortlessly. A jaw-dropping conclusion completes a powerful, unbelievably sad piece of work.<br/><br/>After a couple years of not finding a movie that stirred me, this is it, what we all look for in movies -- a harrowing story, beautifully filmed, cathartic and elegant. Joy is very difficult to spot in the film, but &quot;House of Sand and Fog&quot; provides the joy we get when being moved to powerful emotions by a wonderful symphony.<br/><br/>My best film of 2003 -- unquestionably 10/10.

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