Ever since the Great Recession hit, many people have lost their mortgages and their homes. The economy took a turn for the worse and people with financial woes were be kicked out of their dwellings. It is a truly sad fact and it is also sad for those whose nasty job it is to evict these poor souls. The new dramatic thriller 99 Homes explores both unfortunate sides: the evictee and the evictor. Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon headline this fantastic yet bleak film which not only sheds a light on something few people may consider but presents it in a way that really quite impressive. This coupled with a stellar script, tight direction and some very strong performances, you have a film that is in a class all in its own.
Dennis Nash (Garfield) has fallen on hard times. He’s a single unemployed construction worker who is currently taking care of his young son (Noah Lomax) and his delicate mother (Laura Dern). His financial status isn’t too great either and he and his family are soon evicted from their house by shrewd businessman Rick Carver (Shannon). Nash eventually comes up with the idea to work for Carver in an attempt to regain his family’s house. However in doing so, Nash goes to a deep, dark place that he never thought he’d go. He becomes Carver’s righthand man and the results are rather grim.
Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon make this movie shine, without a doubt. Their onscreen chemistry is amazing and the tension created in the film is genius. Garfield has proven that he can play other characters other than a web shooting crime fighter and his desperate family man persona suits him very well. He knows how to work the camera and so does Michael Shannon, who is no stranger to playing unsavory villains or characters of moral ambiguity. Shannon looks like a younger Christopher Walker and brings an intensity to each role he plays. He is a modern day marvel. Laura Dern is adequate in this film as Nash’s frazzled mom and young Noah Lomax is a breath of fresh air as Nash’s often confused son, confused about his family’s current living situation.
Writer/director Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo, Man Push Cart) has put together a marvelous film in 99 Homes. The story is unique, the characters are real and the action is tense. This is not your typical thriller because the characters are all relatable and the plot, very believable. This may be a turning point for Garfield, who hasn’t really been given a chance to shine dramatically. He did fine work in The Social Network but that doesn’t hold a candle to his flawless performance here. 99 Homes might be the young actor’s gateway to bigger, better and meatier roles because he has certainly proven that he has the acting chops necessary to play just about any part. Shannon continues to do what he does best and it’s great each and every time. While not all audiences will appreciate this film, many should give it a try because it touches on a very sensitive issue, an issue that many can probably relate to. That and the way the story was brought to the screen are damn near perfect.