Director and co-writer Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes is a drama that is believable throughout, despite being difficult viewing at times.
Dennis Nash is about to be evicted from his family home after falling behind on mortgage payments. The man that looks to benefit is real estate broker Rick Carver, who is capitalising on the economic downturn. As Dennis struggles to get his family back into their home, his hope turns to the man responsible for his predicament…
99 Homes is often a dark drama that reels viewers in despite of its bleak content. Ramin Bahrani, who directs and co-writes, has crafted a compelling morality play. The protagonists are initially depicted in a very distinct fashion. This is particularly true of Rick Carver, with a disturbing opening sequence painting the character in a very precise manner. Part of the beauty of the film is that these initial depictions develop during the duration.
The journey of Dennis Nash is the focus of the film. It is easy to identify with the character initially, and indeed as the film progresses. 99 Homes is a Faustian tale set in the very real backdrop of the recession and subsequent home repossession in contemporary America. As the film progresses, there is certainly empathy with Nash’s predicament. As 99 Homes draws to its conclusion, the struggle is most apparent.
As much as what takes place in the film seems shocking, all of the incidents that occur are utterly believable. This is true of the ruthless greed of real estate owners and brokers, as well as the institutionalisation of home repossession to the advantage the wealthy few. Some of the scenes in which disadvantaged people are evicted make difficult viewing, but this is the point of the film.
Michael Shannon delivers a strong performance as Carver. Bahrani allows the actor monologues that exemplify the character, yet both the director and actor portray the character as three dimensional. Andrew Garfield is also great as Nash. He exudes a palpable discomfort in some scenes which comes across as completely natural and believable. Bahrani’s handheld camera delivers the intimacy
99 Homes exhibits good filmmaking and highlights an important issue. Highly recommended viewing.