House of Sand and Fog
[Movie Review]

"House of Sand and Fog" is a drama, and dramas usually aren't my thing. It was on my list of movies to see for quite a while now, and so tonight I felt I might as well watch it and get it out of the way. In the end, it was an enteraining movie, but I probably didn't take it as "seriously" as the filmmakers intended.

Plot Synopsis: Kathy, the lead female, gets charged a business tax which she contests because she never owned a business. Due to a bureaucratic mistake, her house gets repossessed and auctioned off to an Iranian family who is barely making ends meet. For Kathy, it looks like Behrani (the father of the Iranian family) is trying to make a quick buck off of a house with sentimental value to her (she inheritted it from her father). From Behrani's point of view, he paid for the house, why should he suffer for the mistake of the government. After Kathy gets legal assistance, the government is willing to give Behrani back his money, but he wants the market price (four times as much), which Kathy sees as unreasonable. Behrani is stringing along several jobs as a construction worker and a convenience store clerk, and needs the profits from the house to put his son through university. As Amazon reviewer Bret Fetzer puts it, "your sympathies will be pulled in all directions."

Plot plausability: To me, everything works except for the behaviour of this cop. Kathy seduces a police officer who then decides to help her regain her house by harassing the Behranis. However, at times this officer is so obtuse, you'd think he was purposefully misunderstanding the Iranians' situation to further the drama. This officer also happens to be the character that I hate, being stereotypically racist, prejudice, abusive of his police authority, and so on. He lies about his identity to the Behranis, and threatens to have his friends in immagration have them deported. Behrani's wife is a close second for most hatable character, always going through useless hysterics and causing trouble for the rest of the family. But at least her character is believable.

The video and music weren't particularly impressive, and at times border on the cheesy. You know how it is with synthetic strings playing sadness-tinged-with-optimism chords. And there's plenty of shots of sunsets and seagulls and shorelines and such to compliment the over-the-top audio. Not gonna be getting the soundtrack for this one.

I don't want to dock off too many points just because drama isn't my favorite genre. The story was good, but there weren't many creative surprises. The police character had some serious plausibility problems, and the music was "too appropriate", if you know what I mean. Overall good, with a few minor problems and one not so minor problem. 7/10.

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1. Ringohime said:

I don't like this movie. Makes me feel sad for foreigners including myself, and makes me hate Ameiricans more.

Posted on Tue April 19th, 2005, 11:07 PM EST acknowledged
2. Nebu Pookins said:

When you say you hate Americans, I assume what you really mean is you hate that police officer for his citizenship-prejudice/racism. The Iranian family are citizens of America too, you know.

Posted on Wed April 20th, 2005, 6:26 AM EST acknowledged
3. Ringohime said:

Yeah, but they are Iranians at their heart, like I am, and will be Japanese forever!! Meow!

I hate the girl played my Jennifer Connelly, too, by the way.

Posted on Wed April 20th, 2005, 7:28 AM EST acknowledged

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