The Great Recession has inspired some of my recent favourite films and documentaries (reviewed here, here and here on the Multiverse) and when I heard about The Big Short and 99 Homes they both went to the top of my must-see list.
99 Homes stars Andrew Garfield as Dennis Nash, a single father who lives with his mother Lynn (Laura Dern) and his son Conner in their family home in Orlando, Florida. Dennis is an unemployed construction worker who has had problems keeping up with his mortgage payments and so the house is repossessed by the bank. Michael Shannon plays Rick Carver, a real estate mogul who is in charge of the eviction.
Dennis moves his family into a motel which happens to be beside Carver’s office. One day Carver witnesses an altercation over Dennis’ stolen work tools and he’s so impressed by Dennis’ attitude that he offers him a job. At the end of his tether, Dennis accepts the work and is soon evicting other families, and getting more and more embroiled in Rick’s morally ambiguous business dealings.
The opening scenes of the film are tough to watch, especially the eviction scene where Dennis and Lynn beg Carver for more time, try to bargain with him until they realise the futility of it, and then panic when it sinks in that they’re now homeless. The speed at which the eviction happens is breathtaking. One moment the Nash family are having a normal day at home, half an hour later they are standing on their front lawn surrounded by their possessions watching the locks being changed.
The three main performances in the film, from Garfield, Dern and Shannon, are all superb. For his performance as Rick Carver, Shannon was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors’ Guild, and the Critics Choice Awards amongst others, but not at the Oscars. The Academy members should hang their heads in shame!
99 Homes is available now to watch on iTunes.