House of Sand and Fog from the outset doesn't seem like a film that would appeal to many. In fact it begins with what seems like an almost mundane dispute over a house that was repossessed and sold due to a clerical error made by the county. Jennifer Connelly stars as Cathy, a recovering alcoholic who has been wallowing in what can only be described as self pity after her husband leaves her. She ends up evicted and her house is auctioned off to Ben Kingsley who as usual doesn't disappoint as Behrani, a former Iranian Colonel who is trying to find a place for his family to live while maintaining the mistique of respect and honour. Needless to say, a dispute ensues which sees Cathy spiralling back into alcoholism and depression which eventually leads to many a twist and a chilling finale.
This film is very much about the so called American dream and how one event can snowball into so much more. Every performance is top notch, especially in my opinion Connelly's and the amazing way the film is shot only increases the feeling that she really is spiralling. Interestingly, it feels impossible to take sides as the story develops and the director definitely seems to be trying to be careful so as not to lean towards one or the other giving the film an almost true to life perspective as though we truly are the stranger looking in. While at times I wished the film moved more quickly, it really was a thoughtful and provocative take on a novel I am sure is as good as the film.
9/10 (NB. Bring your tissues...!)