99 Homes review
Before I graduated high school, I was getting tired of living in Murrieta, California. The house is nice, but when you’re an ambitious teenager, your hometown starts to blend into the world like weeds in a field. You know it’s there, but it’s interest has long since passed. For my first year of college, I chose to reside in Tucson, Arizona where I felt a change of pace was just what I needed. The college was well renounced and the dessert environment seems enough of a home change that I felt that this would be adventurous. What I got was basically the most expensive calling card to come back to my real home.
It’s not that I didn’t like Arizona, but the change only reminded me more of how out of place I was. What I got was a different location, but what I forgot about was that you also had to change yourself to rebuild your identity. I was in no mood to do so and it made me think about just how nice the house I grew up in was. It was no mansion, but it was where my experience on life had come from. I loved my home, and one guy fights for his in 99 Homes.
A single father construction worker Dennis Nash (played by Andrew Garfield) lives in his childhood home that he shares with his son Conner and mother Lynn (played by Laura Dern) who also uses the living room for her hairdressing business. Like plenty of people around the Great Recession, Dennis has had trouble keeping up on the mortgage and makes several files in court to keep the place. He finds one morning that he and his family are being evicted that day. The eviction is led by the slimy real estate operator Rick Carver (played by Michael Shannon) who seems to have no sympathy in their situation, simply letting to cops throw the family out with no place to go.
Though they find an apartment, Dennis notices that some of his tools are missing. He goes to the offices where he finds Rick. He hires Dennis to do some repair work after he bravely goes in to clean sewage that non of the other repair people would do. His gumption allows Dennis to eventually work as Rick’s assistance, including carrying out evictions all over Orlando. Dennis sees that Rick plays the economic laws and federal marshals to the business’ advantage, though the lure of the money may get in the way of Dennis making the right choice.
On the surface, 99 Homes seems like a typical good versus evil story against corrupt business. It is, but the film’s convention plays this a little different. First of all, Michael Shannon not only makes Rick’s despicable character a love-to-hate guy, but we do get an insight into his profession and how the housing crash worked to his playing field. The film establishes that he had the personality to pull this off and may have been a gangster had he not operated a business.
Andrew Garfield does well as a lower class man who only wants better for his son. I’m glad that they portray him as more ambitious then smart. Laura Dern also remind me that she’s too underutilized as an actress.
The story may seem a bit familiar, but I can forgive it for it at least has strong characters that make it entertaining enough to recommend. The later half of the film does become a little slow when we see our hero indulges in the riches. The ending however, does lead to a big standoff and I won’t dare reveal what’s happens in the end.
I’ll give this four eviction notices out of five. 99 Homes is the housing equivalent of Wall Street. It’s bound to be a product of the time, but in a good way. I enjoyed this look into what a shady ambition can bring in consequence.