One of James Horner's most hushed works, House of Sand and Fog is an aptly brooding, implosive musical counterpart to Vadim Perleman's adaptation of Andre Dubus III's heartbreaking, and bestselling, novel. Horner captures the aspirations of the Behranis, a family of Irani immigrants, in the score's opening tracks. Pieces such as "An Older Life" and "Waves of the Caspian Sea" are quietly hopeful, string-driven compositions that feel like they're going to blossom into the kind of lush, sentimental pieces for which Horner is renowned -- but they never do. Likewise, "'This Is No Longer Your House'" and "Kathy's Night" reflect the seeping frustration of Kathy Nicolo, an alcoholic young woman forced to give up her family's house, which the Behranis buy soon after. The musical themes of Nicolo and the Behranis come together, in a subdued manner on "Parallel Lives, Parallel Loves" and more urgently on "The Shooting, a Payment for Our Sins." But even the score's most dramatic moments are understated, providing more of a backdrop for the film's events than a commentary on them. Regret and nostalgia dominate House of Sand and Fog, particularly on "Behrani's Thoughts - Long Ago," "The Dreams of Kings," and "'We Have Traveled So Far, It Is Time to Return to Our Path'." These aren't the easiest emotions to depict in music, but Horner does an admirable job of turning these subtle emotions into a compelling score.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
|House of Sand and Fog, film score|