It’s the month of horror flicks. Around this time, we generally see slasher flicks, creature features or movies about demon possessions. Now, it’s time for terror of another sort – Home repossession.
99 Homes stars Andrew Garfield (Red Riding Trilogy, Amazing Spider-Man) as Dennis Nash, a young father and part-time laborer trying to keep his family afloat in the financially-distressing economic crisis right square in 2010. Several of his neighbors have already lost their homes and he is next. Enter, real estate broker Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), who has the duty to kick Dennis out of his home. Leaving Dennis, his mom (Laura Dern) and his son (Noah Lomax) with no shelter.
As Dennis starts to realize how awful his plight is, especially on account of his young son, he takes desperate measures and starts to work for Carver, a man he hates above all others.
As the movie progresses, you start seeing a modern allegory about making a deal with the devil. You immediately despise Rick Carver and Michael Shannon plays it perfectly. Though Carver isn’t as flat a character as you’d want to believe. He doesn’t take joy in kicking families out of their homes. He simply has a job to do and he’s very good at it. He is able to detach because it’s all about the bottom dollar, and nothing more. His type-A persona is almost magnetic and Nash’s transition, from hating him to involuntarily admiring him, feels natural.
Andrew Garfield is impressive as a character that only wants the best for his family, even if it means he must sacrifice integrity along the way. He balances the fine line of maintaining a conscience and trying to do the job to provide for loved ones. When you see him kick people out of their homes, you see the genuine concern and heartbreak on his face. Whether it’s the fact that so many people lost their homes in the mortgage crisis so recently or not, the emotion is real. Garfield’s character is our anchor to this corrupt world of foreclosures. He gets put into impossible situations and the movie forces you to wonder what you’d do in his spot.
99 Homes fits into the rare cinematic space of the kind of sensational movie that you only need to watch once. It is heartbreaking and stressful, while giving a picture of recent history. Michael Shannon should receive a nomination for his role, as he adds many layers to a man that should be so easy to hate.
This movie will make you feel. There is little joy here because you’re waiting for everything to go wrong. But, for drama fans, 99 Homes is an indie film that is absolutely compelling and worth watching. B+