Film Review: 99 Homes

“America doesn’t bail out losers.”

Every now and again a topic sensitive film comes along that manages to adequately portray BOTH sides of the subject matter at hand without being preachy or agenda driven, 99 Homes is such a film.

Andrew Garfield plays Dennis Nash, a down on his luck Florida construction worker who is behind on his mortgage payment and about to go into foreclosure. While battling valiantly, he ultimately loses his family home which he shares with his mother Lynn (Laura Dern) and son Connor (Noah Lomax), to the smug, e-cigarette smoking, real estate mogul Rick Carver, who is portrayed so wonderfully three dimensional here by Michael Shannon.

This is not an easy film to watch, it handles the subject matter at hand with the appropriate amount of aggressive film making necessary to illustrate how awful this truly is. These aren’t people, they are failures who cannot pay what they owe and are getting exactly what they deserve as the bank sends police officers to forcibly remove them from their now defunct property. No excuses are accepted, no mercy is shown, the bank now owns your home and wants you gone. The end. It is uncomfortable, heart wrenching and handled masterfully.

A wonderful spin is put on this as Nash comes under the employ of the very man who removed him from his home and together, he and Carver take the Florida real estate market by storm. The moral quandary this presents would be difficult for any actor, but Garfield does it effortlessly. The delight in his face as he receives his first big check and is making money, changes dramatically throughout the film as the harsh reality of what he’s doing to these people sets in. The dynamic he and Rick Carver share is fantastic and you even come to understand the viewpoint of the villainous Shannon, because his character is actually given such a tremendous backstory with strong enough arguments that in a way, validate his actions.

The devils advocate that ensues throughout this film is magnificent. Where Wolf of Wall Street was a celebration of villainous excess, 99 Homes is a philosophical debate on who is REALLY to blame. Is it the person who falls behind on their loan because they took more than they could afford? Is it the bank for issuing that loan in the first place, knowing this person couldn’t afford it? This film demands that you acknowledge these questions from both viewpoints rather than force feeding you a one sided agenda.

An absolutely brilliant film that deserves your attention. See it at once.

-Sock Talk Jon-

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