Rainer's Review of House of Sand and Fog
House of Sand and Fog(2003)
For a feature film debut, House of Sand and Fog takes a lot of chances. First-time director Vadim Perelman didn't play it safe at all.
I especially liked the subtle parallels between Behrani and Kathy, that they're both excluded members of society and need the house as an anchor for their lives.
The house plays a huge role, and Perelman uses it almost as an actual character. Minor films would make a MacGuffin out of it, but Perelman knows how to breath life into it.
Of course, the film only does so well because of the neat performances. Especially Ben Kingsley is awesome (when isn't he?) as a former Iranian general who fled the country after the Ayatollah took over.
But the whole cast fills out their characters with enough life to make them believable. The only odd one was Lester. He's responsible for most of the ludicrous/unrealistic moments in the film, which hurt it a little. Whenever it gets overly melodramatic, it's because of Lester.
Even Lester though, is a great character, compared to what we get to see in minor films. They're all good people in my eyes, even him.
Some are better than others but they all have their flaws, like in real life. This is the fine twist of the movie. With whom you're gonna sympathize decides the kind of movie you're watching and there are probably a dozen of variations depending on your sympathies. This is also why I think that Lester's character ruins it a bit with his turn at the end of the film.
Nice film, something I imagine watching on TV on a sunday afternoon, on a not too trashy program.