Thursday, 22 July 2010

Best Actor 2003: Ben Kingsley in The House of Sand and Fog

Ben Kingsley received his fourth Oscar nomination for portraying Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani an Iranian immigrant in America who becomes involved in a struggle involving ownership of a home in The House of Sand and Fog.

House of Sand and Fog is an okay film, but not one that I felt became really all that interesting.

Kingsley is fairly believable as an Iranian immigrant, and his accent is fine although not amazing. He does seem to be fine at being the character that is until the end though where his performance loses competency. He plays the part of Behrani fairly stiffly throughout the film. He never becomes that emotional and when he does he only becomes emotional for a very brief instance. Now it is fine for a character to be played stiffly as that can be merely how a character is but this does not quite work for Kingsley, because he is quite dull in this performance.

I found that Kingsley simply never became that interesting with this performance, and he could have been as stiff as he was if he tried to show something with little indicators which Kingsley never does or at least never does it particularly well. Even when he becomes angry with people in the film he never becomes that emotional but rather a still very restrained and stiff sort of anger that can seem a bit unnatural at times. Kingsley is not all bad though and there are few quiet scenes where he does much better, such as the scene where he speaks to his son after he slapped his wife. But even this scene is not amazing.

The biggest problem with his performance though in his big emotional scene at the end of the film. He still needlessly keeps the character stiff even when he becomes very emotional and that just comes off as false. Also in this scene I no longer really believed him as an Iranian immigrant because when he was praying in  
this scene he really seemed to be forcing it and came off as incredibly unnatural. Kingsley though is not all bad but, he fails in the key scenes and is a bit dull but most of the time he is okay just never very interesting.


Fritz said...

I think the movie itself was pretty bad, but the acting from Ben, Jennifer and Shoreh was fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Didn't like him much either...I like Jennifer Connolly's performance more then most people.

joe burns said...

I liked the movie a lot, even though it was really depressing, and I thought the acting was great, though Ben was a bit too stiff. I forget what my rating was.

What did you think of Shoreh? I just loved her! And I did like Jennifer too.