Upon hearing critics comparing “HOUSE OF SAND AND
FOG” to “AMERICAN BEAUTY” in its marketing campaign, is enough reason for many
to be interested in seeing this film. While the cinematography, direction,
and acting, especially from that of Ben Kingsly, is incredible, its narrative
and ultimate conclusion leaves the viewer feeling completely depressed, rather
than the enlightened feeling that
“AMERICAN BEAUTY” gave to its audience. Throughout “AMERICAN BEAUTY”there is a constant theme honoring the multi-dimensions of the human experience, whereas with “HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG,” events appear to be chalked up to fate, and the notion of self-determination is quashed
Jennifer Connelly plays a beautiful(of course) young woman named Kathy, suffering from severe depression after being dumped by her boyfriend. It’s hit her hard, and she’s lost the motivation and
ability to do even simple things. So, when a foreclosure warning letter arrives, she doesn’t even read it. Kingsley gives what may be his finest performance yet, as Behrani, a hard-working Iranian, working two jobs, hoping to achieve success via his belief in the American Dream. When his bid for a recently foreclosed home, wins, he has no idea of the hurt or pains associated with its original owner(Connelly)and sees it as a way to move towards small, but increasing step towards happiness for his family. Both of these main characters’ lives are about to collide, and as is foreshadowed in the
needless “opening” prologue(the film’s ending), the conclusion will be tragic for all involved.
DREAMWORKS has preserved the fim’s 1.85:1 aspect
ratio, with 16:9 enhancement. It’s a flawless transfer! Colors are
solid throughout, with exquisite detail in every scene. Contrast is
deep blacks and grays in even the darkest scenes. Fleshtones appear natural throughout.
While disappointed there’s no “DTS” option, the Dolby
Digital 5.1 mix provided, is excellent. The amount of surround detail is
surprising and effective, enhancing the drama to scene after scene. Dialogue is
always intelligible and free from distortion.
A wonderful commentary with Kingsley and the film’s director, is offered. A “Behind-the-scenes” featurette offers interviews with the fim’s cast and crew.
A “Deleted Scenes” segment offers six scenes, all
adding a bit to character development, but with explanations for their excision,
offered on an optional commentary. All scenes are presented with 16:9
Perhaps the best extra is the 6 minute audition tape for Aghdashloo, further displaying her incredible acting talent and beauty.