• James Rutherford

'House of Sand and Fog': A Vivid and Powerful Tale of Injustice, Dissension and Tragic Consequence


Movie poster for the 2003 film House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog (2003) is a powerful psychological thriller starring Jennifer Connelly as Kathy Nicolo, a former drug addict recently abandoned by her husband. Left alone in her modest house in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kathy is erroneously evicted over faulty tax data and sees her property surreptitiously possessed by Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kingsley) and his family.


A former Imperial Iranian Army colonel now living in California, Massoud works several menial jobs while feigning wealth in order to protect the honor of his wife Nadereh (Shohreh Aghdashloo), son Esmail (Jonathan Ahdout), and daughter Soraya (Navi Rawat). Intent upon improving the property and reselling it for profit, Massoud is soon bedeviled by Kathy alongside her lawyer Connie (Frances Fisher) and a sympathetic police officer named Lester (Ron Eldard). Their desperate campaign to restore Kathy's ownership becomes the flashpoint for an impassioned and contentious dispute with all-too-tragic consequences.


Directed by Ukrainian filmmaker Vadim Perelman (The Life Before Her Eyes, Persian Lessons) and based on the novel by Andre Dubus III, House of Sand and Fog is a searing tale of systematic injustice. Balancing the travails of both sides of the struggle with enormous empathy, Perelman has delivered a palpable depiction of human entanglement and the shackles of prideful determination. Highlighted by an utterly mesmerizing performance by Kingsley, it's a deeply compelling viewing experience unafraid to explore the darker depths of human conflict.

 

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