A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real estate broker who’s the source of his frustration.
Writer/director Ramin Bahrani brings us the new film 99 Homes starring Andrew Garfield in one of his first cinematic performances since the discontinuation of the Amazing Spiderman film franchise. 99 Homes centres on the downtrodden suffering through the economic downturn, specifically those who have defaulted on their home repayments to the point of foreclosure.
Presenting an interesting character journey, 99 Homes spends time with its main character on both sides of the fence, in terms of struggling along with his peers looking for work and trying to make ends meet, until he stumbles across a lucrative opportunity that not only promises to solve his financial troubles but elevate him well beyond his previous means.
It’s interesting to witness how Garfield’s character adjusts his priorities in order to provide for his family in difficult circumstances, and his ongoing attempts to reconcile who he becomes with who he was when the film begins.
99 Homes is just peppered with social and economic commentary in the context of America’s economic collapse and slow recovery in recent years, and it constantly pontificates the integrity of economic managers trying to help a financially downtrodden country recover. The film spends a lot of time articulating the suffering of the less fortunate members of society at the mercy of ineffective public administration and more sinister private sector machinations profiting in what is for the majority a challenging economic environment.
Michael Shannon is well utilised in the film, his immoral indifference to the suffering of others is well articulated as are his motivations and he delivers this with an imposing physicality which is effective. Garfield is also strong in his role which is far more emotive than Shannon’s, he cleverly captures the sense of conflict and emotional fatigue in his character that brings believability to his everyman performance.
With such a strong desire to be highly dramatic sometimes 99 Holmes feels a little too superficial in its depictions of home loss, with a tendency towards quantity rather than quality result in events moving along quickly when it would have been easily as interesting for the film to spend more time with less victims of the house market to help elevate the drama at certain key points.
With that said however, 99 Homes remains a thought provoking film, it delves into the meaning of a home, the sense of stability in belonging somewhere, while giving a look into real estate and insurance fraud schemes that capitalise on those left out in the cold by a shrinking economy.
I’m giving it 7 out of 10 stars, 99 Homes is out in limited release from Thursday 19th November.