Tuesday, May 18, 2004

House of Sand and Fog

I had heard very little about this movie when I rented it. I knew that it was centered around a house and that it stared Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly but that's about it. Now after having watched the film I don't have much to add to that description except perhaps to add that the film is also about pain.

I kept asking myself as I watched why anyone made a movie about this topic. The first three quarters of the film immerses you in the characters pain - maybe the word immerse is too subtle, drown may be more appropriate. The last quarter takes all that pain and piles on more and more until every character is broken. This is not entertainment in it's classic form.

I give a lot of credit to all the actors for being able to pull off a film with no real story except the pain of their lives. Ben Kingsleys is fantastic and deserving of his Oscar nomination. Jennifer Connelly is also very good in a performance a bit too reminiscent of the one she gave in Requiem for a Dream. The performance that I think deserves mention that I hadn't heard about before was that of Shohreh Aghdashloo an Iranian actress who plays Ben Kingsley's wife. She is very good with very little material. Among the extra on the DVD is a tape of her audition. It's an amazing thing to watch a professional actor move from emotion to emotion as she reads from different scenes in the film. It's very impressive.

On a personal note, as someone who has lost a friend to suicide it's a painful movie to watch. The vacant look on the faces of the actors as they approach the end is all too reminiscent and haunting. If you've experienced something similar be prepared for some intense moments.

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