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99 Homes

Dennis (Andrew Garfield), his mom (Laura Dern) and his son have fallen behind in their mortgage payments, Rick (Michael Shannon), a real estate developer who profits on foreclosures, evicts Dennis from the home he grew up in. Living in a motel and desperate to find a job, Dennis goes to work for Rick. He starts out by cleaning a backed-up toilet that has flooded a foreclosed home. Soon, Dennis quickly gets involved in other aspects of Rick’s business. This is a really great film. It is rather different from many of Ramin Bahrani’s other films – Chop Shop, Man Push Cart, and Goodbye Solo – which tend to be slow, in=depth character studies. 99 Homes is a movie that very fast paced and has a very tight and sleek script. The acting is superb, particularly by Garfield whose character is deeply conflicted, and Shannon, who is positively creepy, ruthless, and the embodiment of the worst aspects of capitalism. The movie also at times has the feel of a documentary, and the actors who played the families being evicted were really quite convincing. Overall, the film captures the effects of the housing collapse from different perspectives. Big thumbs up from me – I loved the film. While I am a huge fan of Bahrani’s work, I think this is one of his best. (2015; 4.5 stars).

About Gary Burkholder

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