Title – 99 Homes (2014)
Director – Ramin Bahrani (At Any Price)
Cast – Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Noah Lomax
Plot – In the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, single father Dennis Nash (Garfield) finds himself out on the street with his mother Lynn Nash (Dern) and young son Connor (Lomax) after their bank forecloses on their house. Desperate for work and money, Dennis finds an answer in the form of heartless yet charismatic real estate magnate Rick Carver (Shannon), a man whose business revolves around kicking people out of their family homes.
“America doesn’t bail out the losers. America was built by bailing out winners”
Review by Eddie on 14/12/2015
A thriller focused around the American financial collapse and the detrimental effect it had on home owners doesn’t exactly scream cinematic gold but thanks to a tremendously fired up support turn from the increasingly good Michael Shannon and a good sense of heart and purpose, Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes is often a riveting watch.
The talents of Shannon have long been on display for those that have sought it, whether it be in his Oscar nominated supporting turn Revolutionary Road, his scene stealing Nelson Van Alden from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire or more recently his Mr. Green in the Seth Rogen starrer The Night Before or even lead roles in films such as Werner Herzog’s bonkers My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done or Jeff Nichol’s understated Take Shelter, Shannon is one of the most unique and consistent performers working today and Bahrani takes full advantage of this by giving him the role of shady real estate agent/owner Rick Carver
Bringing his usual energy but subduing it into a different mode, Shannon shines as Carver, a man that has understood the opportunity that has arisen from the ashes of the world’s economy going down the drain and profited greatly from others misfortune. The film’s opening scene with Carver reacting to a tragedy that has just occurred is a great opening for what to expect from the character and from the get go Shannon is the main reason behind 99 Homes successes as other elements of Bahrani’s storytelling fall a little flat.
Freed from the shackles of the Spider-Man spandex, Andrew Garfield’s trying hard single dad and determined Dennis Nash is the films central player but despite the best efforts of Garfield, Nash’s journey from builder to right hand man of Carver feels sadly unrealistic in a film that is otherwise quite good at remaining close to home for viewers. Things seem to happen awfully fast for Nash and as the film ramps up the tension, decisions that Nash make feel more and more out of place for a mild mannered man such as himself, and with Nash’s arc descending into a haze of plot contrivances its left up to Shannon once more to save the day.
An intriguing look at the horrific aspect of home owner’s lives and an examination of American culture, 99 Homes is a sturdy and well shot film that features an Oscar worthy turn from Shannon and another solid display by Garfield but it’s a shame 99 Homes couldn’t continue on in the strength of its opening stanza as it eventually peters out into a film that’s good where it could’ve been great.
3 ½ pool pumps out of 5