Studio: Broad Green
Directed by Ramin Bahrani
Sep 28, 2015
Issue #54 - August/September 2015 - CHVRCHES
Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) is a feared man. He wears an expensive suit and carries a gun, but he isn’t a gangster. Carver is a Florida real estate agent who built his fortune in the decade since the housing bubble burst by repossessing homes and gaming the system in which Wall Street and the U.S. Government tried to right the capsized economy. When he evicts unemployed construction worker Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), his son, and his mother (Laura Dern) from their family home, Carver finds a potential asset in the hard-working and determined young man. The two strike a deal: if Nash comes to work for Carver, he’ll help him buy back his house. However, Nash is soon forced to weigh his new financial stability against the moral ambiguity of the jobs Carver asks of him.
The Faustian bargain struck in 99 Homes feels harrowingly realistic in the film’s contemporary American setting: Nash’s brand of new, unanticipated poverty is all too common in a recession economy. The gradual loosening of his values is sad to watch, but it’s entirely believable; forced into the same situation, it’s easy to imagine that most of us would do the same. Despite its timeliness, strong script and savvy direction, the real standout of 99 Homes is its pair of powerful lead performances: the domineering Carver is one of those feverishly intense roles that Shannon seems genetically engineered to play, and Garfield appears ever wary beneath his boyish, innocent looks.
Author rating: 8/10
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