Real estate brokers would call Vadim Perelman's solemn House of Sand and Fog a fixer-upper. At first glance, the handsome House is an easy sell. It's gorgeously shot and well acted. Skilled composer James Horner even chimes in with an aptly somber score of deliberate piano key strokes and nothing more. A closer look reveals cracks in the foundation, though, meaning House wouldn't pass a thorough homeowner's inspection, as it isn't really built to cinematic code.
Based on the best-selling novel by Andre Dubus III, House constructs a legal and ethical battle between two individuals at conflicting crossroads. How much you buy into it will depend on which of the film's two antagonists you side with. Are you a compassionate bleeding heart willing to forgive even the most irresponsible and bottomed-out loser? Or are you a strict rule-abider who swears by the letter of the law and is hesitant to play the sympathy card?
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