House of Sand and Fog ★★★½

A fiercely powerful and melancholy tale about dreams, aspirations, and belonging, 'House of Sand and Fog' is a solid - if not spectacular - adaptation.

Ben Kingsley’s performance is flawless, delivering the kind of complexity that effects loathing, but on another hand promotes the most overwhelming heartbreak and compassion. From the profound sadness in his eyes as he farewells his daughter at her wedding, to the steely harshness that results in physical violence, Kingsley takes us on a devastating emotional journey. Jennifer Connelly’s further imbues her lost character with such tenacity that we feel giddy. The entire cast (minus Ron Eldard) is superb, but special mention goes to Shohreh Aghdashloo, whose subservient, compassionate wife evokes a spontaneous response every time she appears on the screen.

'House of Sand and Fog' is melancholy at its most potent. Every ingredient contributes to the mix - James Horner’s subdued yet piercing score, Roger Deakins’ wonderful cinematography, and the effective contrast of styles of Kathy’s nomadic life with the elaborate and formal ornateness of the Behrani’s.

Demanding, provoking and painfully slow. The single most compelling reason for seeing it is the magnificent performance from Kingsley.