Friday, January 14, 2005

[Book and Movie Reviews] House of Sand and Fog is Superb


This weekend was a movie bonanza for Erin and I, we watched House of Sand and Fog, Mystic River, The Boondock Saints, and The Animatrix. While many of them could receive a review of their own if watched separately, time is sparing, and only the vary best will receive what it deserves.

The House of Sand and Fog has to be one of the least recognized movie wonders of 2003. If you follow the link to IMDB and read some of the reviews you might see why. This movie is wholly depressing. Don't get me wrong its fantastic representation of the artistic craft of film making, but it is heart wrenching.

A brief plot of the summary is this:
Recovering alcoholic girl whose life is in shambles screws up and looses her house.
Hard working immigrant/refugee struggles to realize the American dream, while trying to support a family that is used to living in the lap of luxury.
Guy buys girls house at auction, fight ensues.

To start with the acting by the principles was superb, Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley really demonstrate a phenomenal skill. Kingsley, who was nominated for both the Golden Globe and Oscar for this part, got so into his character it was hard to believe that this character wasn't a real person, and this was his real life. You felt for the character, you had real sympathy for his plight, understanding of his anger, and you felt a guilty understanding for his actions. The character had such class and demeanor in the face of such overwhelming adversity. Kingsley was the star, but the others all shone in their roles as well. The supporting actors, the son, the wife and the cop, fantastic, especially the wife, who was struggling to adjust to a completely foreign life with almost no English skill and really cut off from the world. A tiny part (and I do mean tiny) but well written, and voiced was that of Connelly's characters brother. It was the voice of the good son, who had bailed his sister out one to many times and wasn't going to be dragged back in to her messed up life. Connelly did a fantastic job herself, a far cry from the girl in Labyrinth (1986) her work has definitely been great in the last couple years including this, and A Beautiful Mind. Connelly plays the part of the screwed up girl, and screwed up she is, near the very end you see the seed of hope rekindling in her eye, but its uncertain how much of that gets dashed from her in the tragic conclusion.

Add to the acting some great direction, and cinematography, sprinkle in some metaphors for some harsh human truths, and you have yourself what should have been "Film of the Year" tragically I suspect it failed to capture this much deserved title because it was so damn depressing.

I really would recommend everyone watch this movie at least once in your life, and then ask yourself what is really the most valuable thing in your life, and when you figure it out that its not a thing at all, let them know.

Posted by Geoffrey to Book and Movie Reviews at 1/13/2005 01:40:53 AM

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