House of Sand and Fog Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connoly, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jonathan Ahdout Directed by Vadim Perelman(debut) rating: 3.5/4.0, 3.7 if viewed with anti-depressants
In a year where many award nominees seem to have it in-the-bag, I beg you special consideration for some late-comers to the public eye. House of Sand and Fog is an exceptional film that should be considered for nomations for best actor(Ben Kingsley) best actress(Jennifer Connoly), best supporting actress(Shohreh Aghdashloo) and best adhesive in a non advertising role(The wood glue).
Jennifer Connoly plays a recovering alcoholic divorcee who wakes up one morning and is served an eviction notice for failure to pay business taxes(partial clerical error) which she doesn't owe. The house goes up for auction the next day and she is forced to move into a motel.
Kingsley plays a former Iranian Colonel who fled with his family to the US. He has spent most of his fortune to provide his daughter with the best chances of marrying a suitable husband and supporting his family. He works days shoveling asphalt on roads, goes home to his ritzy apartment building and changes in the lobby bathroom into his suit and goes home, working nights at a convenience store, all to support his family most basic needs. He finds a home that reminds he and his wife of the bungalo that he had on the caspian and buys the seized property for a song. He plans to clean it up a bit and then sell it to support his family and put his son through college.
Unfortunately, the houses involved are one and the same. What follows is the conflict between her regaining the past associated with the house and he securing his family future using the house. Things are said at high volume to one another and the story gets more vicious in short order, all with an ending that is quite unexpected and a little disturbing.
Kingsley turns in oscar-caliber performance, as does Connely, but it's Aghdashloo that attention should be given to. For someone with little to no american screen cred, she has a wonderful grasp of her character and plays it with some extra bite.
Overall, the story is a downer, but what kept me going in the story is the story development. Very interesting turn of events with some twists I wasn't betting on.
Saw the preview for "The Clearning" with Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, and Willem Dafoe. It has smatterings of "Proof of Life" to it, but seems to have been left in the oven a bit longer(kind of like Dafoe. muahahahahaha!) It looks to be right entertaining as well. "Hellboy" has had a trailer for a while and looks entertaining, although if I were a betting man, I'd predict it to do only marginally better than LXG.