A few months back, I labeled the movie, The Big Short, the scariest movie you will see all year. I still stand behind that statement, but if there was ever a supplemental film to show how terrifying that subject can be, it is 99 Homes.
99 Homes is based on the true story of how a recently evicted single father, went to work for the real estate agent who enacted the eviction, and soon learned the business and corruption that went along with it. Based in Florida, which proved to be one of the hardest hit areas of the housing crash, 99 Homes intimately shows the agony and heartbreak that goes along with losing a home. Every single eviction scene is as hard to watch as any violence in today’s cinema, especially for anyone who has had financial difficulties in recent years.
Lead by one of the most consistently underrated actors working, Michael Shannon, as well as Andrew Garfield, we are intensely drawn into two completely opposite worlds. Shannon plays a real estate mogul, Rick Carver, who makes his money serving eviction notices for the banks and mortgage holders, but also identifies ways to make money in these situations and those who are suffering from the hardships.
Andrew Garfield plays Dennis Nash, an out of work construction worker who is desperately trying to keep his son and his mother in the house he grew up in. When lack of work and economic hard times cause him to fall behind on his second mortgage, soon Rick Carver ends up on his doorstep to enforce the eviction. Nash soon goes to confront Carver and members of his crew whom he suspects of stealing his construction tools. This confrontation soon leads to Nash doing small work for Carver. Before long Carver takes Nash under his wing, teaching him his business. Through many conscience and moral contradictions, Nash begins to enjoy his new found income and forgets where it all started. Near tragedy makes Nash come to his senses and lets his conscience allow him to do the right thing.
The film is driven as much by its gut wrenching story as it is by the incredible performances from Garfield and especially Shannon. Shannon has quietly become a force in whatever film he seems to be working on. He has even managed to single handedly save films like he did with The Iceman. While this film clearly did not need any saving, Shannon without a doubt put the brightest shine on the a wonderful and powerful film.
As well as Shannon, Andrew Garfield showed his talent, that many knew was there from, The Social Network and other lesser known films as opposed to movies like the Spider-Man re-boots. This is a great actor with incredible range and needs to be used in that sense. It takes great talent to be able to hold your ground and shine when acting alongside people like Shannon and Laura Dern. Garfield does that with what appears to be great ease and no uncomfortableness.
Fans of powerhouse dramas and stories with depth and meaning will undoubtedly be entranced with 99 Homes. It is a perfectly acted and executed film that was clearly overlooked most of award season (aside from Shannon’s Golden Globe and Spirit Award nominations). As I had previously said with The Big Short, this film is not for the faint of heart, it’s display of human emotion and the callousness of those willing to profit on it may leave your head spinning, but it nonetheless is something that needs to be shown in the light of reality.