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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 23.4%
Average: 14.89%
Pretty Bad: 4.26%
Total Crap: 4.26%

6 reviews, 58 user ratings

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House of Sand and Fog
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by Jay Seaver

"It's sad to see good performances in service of an idiot plot."
3 stars

It's sad to see good performances in service of an idiot plot. I can't really complain about anything the actors do in this movie; Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley are both outstanding, and though I'm not quite so sure I see Shohreh Aghdashloo as an Oscar nominee, she's well above-average.

But, man, it's frustrating to watch. It starts out with an interesting hook, with Connelly's Kate losing her house because of a county tax screw-up, though she was admittedly complicit, ignoring her mail. When Kingsley's Iranian emigre buys it at auction, they both have the right to see the house as theirs, and both are deeply flawed characters. At first, it's a movie without good guys and bad guys.

Enter Ron Eldard as the sheriff's deputy who helped evict Kate and takes a liking to her. He's the guy who winds up pushing the movie into cheap melodrama, taking everything too far, taking a delicate situation and giving it a forceful shake. The tragedy of the last reel thus goes from sad to ridiculous, more deserving of snickers than tears.

That's not the only issue; it's also one of those movies where you wonder what these characters are doing when they're not involved in this plot. Kate has a job as a housecleaner that seems to evaporate; Behrani starts out working two jobs, one of which you see him quit, but both menial. There is a long scene where it is suggested that he is deceiving his family about what he does for work, but it's never followed up on, despite possibly being a good parallel for how Kate is lying to her own family.

I guess that sums the movie up - wasted potential. There's good stuff to work with, but screenwriter/director Vadim Perelman just doesn't get it right.

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originally posted: 06/04/04 10:08:51
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User Comments

1/14/09 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
10/24/07 R.W. Welch Sort of a neo-Shakespearean tragedy with upper case acting and cinematography. 4 stars
4/09/07 Adam J.Connelly walking around in a T-shirt alone is worth the rental! 5 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
9/16/06 Brian O'Neill Watched the DVD then curled up and cried for 30 minutes. It's amazing, but hard to watch. 5 stars
8/19/06 Zaw Good but Extremely Slow! 5 stars
5/31/06 stephanie willis Ben Kingsley, at his finest 4 stars
4/03/06 Jamie Jennifer Connelly is the epitome of lust....good movie, but weird esp the ending 4 stars
11/27/05 cr a wonderful story of a family, a girl, and a house, it scenes just pull you in, sad 4 stars
10/19/05 Douglas Reese 2003's Best Film! An absolute triumph in every which way! Extraordinary movie! 5 stars
8/17/05 John greek tragedis deal in archtypes - this pretends to have real charcacters - 1 stars
8/02/05 Indrid Cold Yeah it's just like a Greek tragedy, but Greek tragedies are overblown and stilted. 3 stars
6/27/05 dan pretty deppressing but connelly is so hot 4 stars
6/20/05 Bob Johnson Great! 5 stars
6/13/05 lindy03 Excellent! Well-played Greek tragedy. 5 stars
6/03/05 Simon ONe of the most well-done, no-nonsense pure dramas to come out in a long time. 4 stars
3/25/05 Paul Jennifer Connelly is perfect. Great movie. 5 stars
3/12/05 jeff darryl u r just too dumb to understand this movie. 5 stars
2/21/05 Darryl Boring. Didn't pick up until then kid got shot and I found myself cheering! 2 stars
1/10/05 chris. my god. don't let your depressed teen see this-i'd have killed myself 4 stars
1/07/05 temy Like an ancient Greek tragedy 5 stars
12/09/04 Landshark obscure, opaque, brooding...never gets candyassed. bonus for Iran immersion---Secret Ballot 5 stars
12/08/04 Shanelle it was sooooo good i felt i was watching real life instead of a movie 5 stars
11/16/04 Raymond Shaw Jennifer Connoly's standard one note performance can't ruin this Ben Kingsley masterpiece. 5 stars
11/03/04 Stevo Well acted. Well told story. Just depressing. Gotta be in the mood. 4 stars
10/26/04 Mahsa great film 5 stars
7/26/04 Brian Murray Just a series of depressing events. By the time the kid dies it was funny. 1 stars
7/23/04 Karen McAninley the movie succeeding in making me feel hopeless, full of despair and depressed. 1 stars
7/19/04 Marco Zierl completely boring and over-dramatized 2 stars
7/08/04 Phil M. Aficionado The plot takes some ill-conceived twists toward the end, but very strong cast & film anyway 4 stars
6/21/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Beatiful and delicate, these actors deliver with the most heartbreaking finesse 5 stars
5/23/04 Butterbean Kingsly was fantastic as usual. I really hated that ending. 4 stars
4/07/04 Jenny Tullwartz Intresting start but all characters but colonel's son make you care less and less bout them 2 stars
4/01/04 jj a tragedy,full of emotion with superb acting! 5 stars
4/01/04 Albie The best film I saw at the theater in 2003 5 stars
3/20/04 kari dennis great movie 5 stars
3/14/04 ownerofdajoint kinksley is incredible.....don't miss this movie... 5 stars
3/05/04 Raymund One of the Best Drama I've Ever Watched! 5 stars
3/02/04 Chloe Brody How amazing... 5 stars
2/28/04 john enjoyed 4 stars
2/26/04 Troy Butler 4.5 stars, ... beautiful performances all round, ... extremely powerful!!! 5 stars
2/15/04 john bale Heartwrenching performance by Kingsley in this finely crafted and powerful movie 5 stars
2/06/04 Jenny Tullwartz Intresting start but all characters but colonel's son make you care less and less bout them 2 stars
1/30/04 Nancy An amazing film that left me stunned 5 stars
1/29/04 Marce unexpected in its originality and power. Really cool, dude ;) 4 stars
1/21/04 smartmusician Incredible. Excellent interpretation of Andre Dubus III's book. Incredible acting!! 5 stars
1/21/04 Contracts Wonk It was the FATHER who wrote the novel on which In the Bedroom is based. 4 stars
1/21/04 Steve Thought provoking... Your emotions change throughout 5 stars
1/19/04 p alexander terrible and racially offensive 1 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Powerhouse performances all-around and top-notch production values. 5 stars
1/12/04 Happy Hour Like a damp, foggy day, this movie gets beneth your skin and chills you. 5 stars
1/12/04 Farhad Milani very deep subject, worthy of hours of discussion 5 stars
1/04/04 breadman Ben Kingsley on the floor pleading to God, tough to I've been there. 4 stars
1/03/04 Sara Finally, a movie showing the truth. 5 stars
1/02/04 Billy Jennifer Connely is a dipiction of brilliance. This Film belongs to her. 5 stars
12/31/03 Mo O'Toole excellent 5 stars
12/30/03 Phil Taylor Powerful performances by Kingsley and Connelly, somewhat overbearing emotional tone 4 stars
12/28/03 Earl Kanter Very Disturbing to see the woman and sheriff involved in a situation that mature individual 4 stars
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  19-Dec-2003 (R)
  DVD: 30-Mar-2004



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