Actor Spotlight: House of Sand and Fog


Personally choosing which Ben Kingsley film to review this month for our actor spotlight was quite easy for me.  I’ve been a fan of Kingsley’s work for years but I have to admit that I for the main part have just seen him in supporting roles.  Roles he excelled in no less but still supporting.  So when I read the synopsis for House of Sand and Fog I was intrigued and geared up to see a more leading role.

House of Sand and Fog is directed by first timer Vadim Perelman.  Perelman shot this film with an artistic view.  His camera shots of both characters and scenery were masterful.  He captured both beauty and agony with ease and I was in awe watching his work here.  The film is a real eye opener with its meaning.  He shows us how there is a big cultural gap between American born citizens and immigrants.  In this gap you see how ignorant some people can be.

We start out with seeing a depressed recovering alcoholic woman Kathy still reeling from her husband leaving her being evicted from her home.  The matter is over a measly $500 for business tax that she shouldn’t have been hit with in the first place.  However thanks to her negligence and depression she overlooks notices that would’ve easily avoided the situation.  At the same time we see Behrani, an Iranian immigrant who held power back in his homeland, now working two jobs to support his family and give them a life in America that they couldn’t have back in Iran.  When these two cross paths with the auction of Kathy’s house we see just how two different worlds interact and how stereotypes affect people.

Perfect picture of depicting Cultural sterotypes shattered

Jennifer Connelly plays Kathy with such emotion and drive that viewers feel sympathy for her even with all her faults.  Connelly’s character plays distraught well but it’s when she finally comes head to head with Behrani is when she and the movie kicks it into next gear.  Behrani is played brilliantly by Kingsley.  The man shows viewers so much with facial expressions and restrained emotions that it is down right scary.  Why he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this role is beyond me.  The great thing about Kingsley is the fact the man is virtually a chameleon when it comes to acting.  He gives so much to every role no matter how small with any ethnicity to the point you believe him with no doubt that he is just that decent.  Other supporting roles as of Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jonathan Ahdout as Behrani’s wife and son lent more depth to the character and showed us why his drive is so deep. With a film like this sometimes it’s hard to really depict who’s the quote un-quote bad guy.  You can sympathize with both leads.  The true bad guy here is ignorance, manly displayed by Ron Eldard’s character Lester who thought he was helping but just made things worse.

Overall House of Sand and Fog is very moving and very tragic.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get more tragic near the end of the film, Perelman takes it a step further.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film.

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Posted on November 4, 2011, in Actor Spotlight, Ben Kingsley and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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