Film House of Sand and Fog is administrative error as drama. It's rather like watching an interlectualised version of Crown Court (or Judge Judy if you're elsewhere). It's a story in which no one is right or wrong particularly. Everyone is a victim of circumstance. Which is half the problem. Because we are supposed to care about all the characters in their own way, the Adrian Lynne style drama suggested in the trailer doesn't materialise and as a viewer we are left in the position of watching rather than experiencing the story without actually caring about the resolution.

Ben Kingsley's performance towers over everything. There is a dignity and rage to his character, a proud father wanting to do best for his family. The problem is it over shadows much of anything else anyone else is doing. Whenever Jennifer Connelly is on-screen, even though she's putting on as good a show as we've seen in her other more serious work we're mostly wondering what Kinglsey is up to.

It also feels like a very long film. It's brave to present what is a thriller plot and then give it a medatitive pace. The trouble is that after the first hour and a half, I felt at least, as though the point had been made. There is repetition to the scenes in which Connelly keeps visiting the house, or Kingsley shows some dignity or Shep from e.r. looks pissed off with the hand he's been dealt. There are perhaps too many scenes of characters giving superfluous back story which doesn't drive things forward. Plus transitions are created by cutting constantly back to shots of sand or fog. Clever...

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