Director Ramin Bahrami calls his new movie, 99 HOMES, an “emotional thriller.” The film focuses on the relationship between a young single father and the shady real estate broker who evicts him from his home. And it’s an intense, powerful, very well acted drama that never lets up for a minute.
(Dennis opens his front door.)
Rick: My name’s Rick Carter. I’m a licensed real estate broker. This home has been foreclosed on.
Dennis: No. This not happening.
Cop: We need you, your mom and your son to step off the property.
Rick: This is not your home.
Dennis: Mr. Carver. Please!
Cop: Sir, you have two minutes. Pack whatever belongings you need.
It’s a nightmare scenario that actually played out for all too many families during the financial crisis just a few short years ago.
Michael Shannon is Rick Carter, the slick, real estate shark, who colludes with corrupt bankers to foreclose on people who in reality still aren’t out of options. He then fixes up the homes and sells them for a big profit.
Andrew Garfield is Dennis Nash, an unemployed construction worker living with his son and his mom, played by Laura Dern. When Dennis goes to see Rick to get back his confiscated tools, Rick surprises him.
Rick: You do construction?
Dennis: I do work.
Rick: 914 Shader Drive. I’ll pay you fifty dollars cash.
Dennis: What? Are you kidding me?
Rick: Fifty dollars shouldn’t be a joke to you, son.
And so Dennis begins his deal with the devil. Soon the construction work leads to a more serious ethical dilemma when Rick offers Dennis a way to buy back his house—the catch is he has to do evictions himself, carrying a gun for protection.
Dennis: Feels a bit like trouble.
Rick: What did you think it was gonna mean, workin’ for me?
(Knock on door)
Dennis: Mr. Tanner. I hate to say it but your eviction is scheduled for today.
At first Dennis doesn’t tell his family the terrible compromise he’s made though what he does is clearly a torment for him.
Dennis: Is this all worth it?
Rick: Don’t be soft…. America doesn’t bail out losers….Only one in a hundred’s gonna get on that ark, son. And every other poor soul’s gonna drown.
99 HOMES becomes ever more harrowing as it builds to its powerful ending.
Would we be willing to do what Dennis does if we were in his shoes?
Both lead actors are superb, and although 99 HOMES is almost an emotional overload, it’s worth it.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.