99 Homes tells the story of Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), a once simple-minded Florida realtor, now making a living at evicting people from their homes. After evicting Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), an unemployed construction worker, along with his mother (Laura Dern) and preteen son (Noah Lomax), Dennis sets out looking to get back what is rightfully his, but not without being persuaded to join the evil dealings of Carver.
Constantly puffing an e-cigarette, Shannon plays (once again) another incredible bad guy. In this Faustian type tale, it is as though Dennis has sold his soul to the devil in order to get back his childhood home. Dennis says he must keep from drowning in this world where so many of us are drowning in debt. But the more Dennis works for Carver, and the more illegal dealings he does, he just might be drowning, farther and farther down.
Both Shannon and Garfield play their characters with such depth. This is by far one of the best film I have seen from Garfield in a long time. There’s a scene at the beginning of the movie when Dennis and his family are being evicted. Garfield, Shannon and Dern give a fantastic performance. The characters are all talking at once. Stepping over each other’s lines in a poetic fashion. It’s almost as if it wasn’t scripted. It’s as if you’re actually seeing this family forced out of their home. What a powerful scene. But as the film went on, Garfield’s portrayal of Dennis became overly melodramatic. Removing that sense of reality.
I do think this film came out at an important time. When so many people are without jobs and homes, this film really makes an impact on that situation. There is a line that stood out to me in the movie, among others, when Carver is telling Dennis to go and evict someone for the first time. Carver tells Dennis, “When they’re spiting in your face you ask them, why did they take out a $30,000 loan for an enclosed patio that they were able to live without for 25 years? Then, go to the bank and ask them why they agreed to give these people an adjustable rate mortgage…” In my opinion this quote sums up the whole film. Who is really looking out for the little guys. Or are we on our own?
99 Homes is a good film. It puts a mirror up to the “American Dream” and asks if it’s the dream that people deserve. This film will make you look at both people and the government, in relation to one another. Thus making you leave the theater with questions you never thought you would ask.
STARRING: Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, and Laura Dern
DIRECTED BY: Ramin Bahrani