House of Sand and Fog - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

House of Sand and Fog Reviews

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½ November 23, 2016
An all-around powerful social drama that seeks empathy for its characters on both sides.
Jess S.
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2016
Extremely emotional movie, this film adaptation of the book is pretty on par. You are not sure who to love or hate and then performances are heart wrenching. This movie will stick with you long after you finish watching.
July 16, 2016
Mesmerizing from beginning till the end. You get to know the characters so well that you can accept their flaws. Connelly proved herself to be an equal match to Sir Kingsley and both sucessfully bring the movie to life.
June 6, 2016
So this Outstanding Drama was well...Outstanding! It's a story that goes beyond just a battle for a house. It's about livelyhoods and when that gets stripped from you. For real grown adults this is relatable as some people do have this happen to them and its terrible when it does. Really liked the music score from janes horner may he rest in peace. Solid directing in here as well as interesting cinematography. There are many shots and imagery of mystifying fog and clouds making for quite a serene and even gloomy presence in this film
Ben Kingsley is excellent here. It's interesting how he plays a guy that could have easily have been dubbed a dick or just a bad ol person and yet he is a good man who needs the house as much as Kathy does. Jennifer Connelly gives a great performance here too. as the film progresses we see more and more how emotionally fractured she is after losing her marriage and losing her house. Shoreh Aghadashloo also does a neat job here as the moral emotional tug at the heart for behrani. Ron eldrand's work was the only bad performance. He looked bored and non commited to this role. He barely changed facial expressions. He also was just reading the lines instead of saying the words of the character. Thank god Connelly and kingsley's experience overshadowed this terrible performance from this actor. the ending was quite suprising and that's were all performance shined the most.
If you get the chance do check out this really great motion picture.
½ April 9, 2016
I do NOT really recall it
February 22, 2016
NOTE: This film was recommended to me by Diane Rio for "Steve Pulaski Sees It."

It took roughly half an hour before I could become completely immersed in Vadim Perelman's House of Sand and Fog, and after that, I was gone. Here's a powerful, deathly serious adult drama, a rarity in a world so concerned with comedies that feature the next viral gag or meme, or the next big romance film that becomes a national sensation. The demographic usually left out of the picture is those who want a competent, R-rated adult drama, and aside from the end of the year, when American audiences tend to get bombarded with new releases, there's rarely a time when that selected demographic gets its due (even this film came out in December 2003, amidst a busy awards season).

It doesn't matter now, for House of Sand and Fog left a noticeable mark during its theatrical run and still finds itself a popular favorite on network TV. This is wonderful, because this is a uniquely great film; a film that takes a representation of something most of hold near and dear to us (our house/home), has two characters from two wildly different, troubled backgrounds pitted against the fight to claim the home, and features strong, eerie photography from one of the best cinematographers working today.

The film focuses on a recovering drug addict named Kathy Nicolo (Jennifer Connelly), who lives alone in a small home in San Francisco. After ignoring numerous eviction notices believing they are part of a misunderstanding she cleared up several months ago, she is forcibly evicted from her home, which is to be auctioned off before she can even seek any kind of legal backing. As a result, a former Iranian Army Colonel named Massoud Behrani (Ben Kingsley), who fled Iran with his wife Nadereh (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and his son Esmail (Jonathan Ahdout), purchases the home for a fraction of its actual value with intent to add additions and improvements to triple his money on the home.

This begins a bitter war between both Kathy and Behrani between what is moral and what is legally acceptable; Kathy enlists in the help of the town's Sheriff Deputy Lester Burton (Ron Eldard) to try and allows Kathy to purchase the house back, a house that has sentimental value for her and her family. Behrani, who has full legal right to do whatever he pleases with the home, doesn't see through Kathy's tearful side, and as a result, continues to go forward with his plans to renovate the home and totally transform it into a new house.

House of Sand and Fog contrasts ability and inability quite beautifully throughout the course of its runtime, a nice and freeing two-hour and three minute long window for the film to carefully assemble its characters and their situations to try and build sympathy for them. Behrani's ability to purchase and completely redesign the home that Kathy doesn't have the ability to purchase is nicely communicated by way of methodically brewing tension between the two parties; it's tension that never becomes theatrical, nor does it ever lack any kind of narrative conviction. Connelly plays a disheveled character that has repeatedly been beaten by her personal choices, with her current situation simply serving as another grim reminder of her ostensible inability to do anything right, and Kingsley plays a devilishly interesting, enigmatic man of many talents and rewards who sees no sentimentality in Kathy's situation - only opportunity.

At the center of the story is the passive home, where numerous characters do unto it what they like, but what it does to them is probably even more significant. This is a home with such promise and value that it remains the only thing our lead character Kathy stays alive for, it seems, and it's a home that could make Behrani, his wife, and his son more affluent and well-off in their current situation. Through looming exterior shots that show gray overcast skies and dense fog covering the landscapes, cinematographer Roger Deakins, arguably the best cinematographer working today, showcases the house's visceral effects by way of uncommonly elaborate closeups and candid shots of the home. No matter what screenwriters Perelman and Shawn Lawrence Otto illustrate for us by way of dialog or narrative progress, House of Sand and Fog's true meaning and significance is illustrated by the dark and beautiful balance crafted by Deakins.

The sadness of the film's story rolls in like pea-soup fog itself, and we're left as viewers just as passive in a physical sense as the home itself, which has such an uncompromising effect on its two individuals that it's almost impossible to look past. Buoyed by two strong lead performances and a masterclass of cinematography, House of Sand and Fog works to illustrate the best tendencies of an adult drama, even coming around to make us feel significantly impacted by the end.

Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Johnathan Ahdout, and Ron Erland. Directed by: Vadim Perelman.
February 9, 2016
One of those movies where people keep doing the wrong thing that real people with more than an hour and a half run time would be able to not do.
½ October 29, 2015
The performances from Connelly, Kingsley & Aghdashloo are so powerful.The film is very well done.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2015
House of Sand and Fog could very easily have been much better. Hard to believe that with Ben Kingsley's strong performance, this did not turn out to be an excellent film. House of Sand and Fog did have some powerful scenes but the whole was less than the sum of its parts. The plot became absurd towards the end, which made it hard to take seriously and yet it was still a decent enough film. Recommended for good dramatic acting.
August 1, 2015
Impressive and thoughtful, House of Sand and Fog exposes a tragic and powerful, yet somewhat unreal and meaningless, event
July 31, 2015
A remarkable movie with extraordinary performances across the board. From Ben Kingsley's remarkable and deserving Oscar nominated performance to Kim Dickens with only 2 minutes of screen time but owns every second, there isn't a weak link in the bunch. Jennifer Connelly is great, Ron Eldard is great, Frances Fisher is great, and most of all Shohreh Aghdashloo is heartbreakingly great earning her Oscar nomination deservingly as well. It's expertly directed, writing, and has a powerful score from the late James Horner. The final 30 minutes of this movie is powerful and one of the strongest endings I have seen in a long time. This is an excellent movie about race relations, police and government corruption, and life itself. One of the best movies from 2003
½ July 23, 2015
Loved the story, but what a kerfuffle!
July 16, 2015
this is the most tragic and sad movie I've seen in ages
July 10, 2015
Boldly tackles social and fiscal issues with unapologetic vengeance. One of the most thought provoking films I've watched and mused over in quite some time.
½ July 7, 2015
Everithing was good till hour and half then Shakespeare starts to happening.
½ June 6, 2015
Better we do not say arcane things like critics, but we are sent to a surreal state by the theme and the magnificent performance by the cast . It
s a pity that average US morons do to affect other Innocent persons lives thus the story is fictional the same like situation aught to be happening somewhere, perhaps daily ?
May 30, 2015
What a great movie! So true. Everything we have in this world is just like sand and fog...
½ March 23, 2015
Good story, good acting, made you keep watching. Hard movie to pick sides, you root for both good people.
½ February 18, 2015
Jennifer Connelly starring depressing movie #2
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