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Review: 99 Homes

October 9, 2015

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

99 Homes PosterEqual parts compelling and heartbreaking, 99 Homes builds a gripping dramatic thriller around the recent housing crash and economic crisis, wrought with vivid moral dilemmas that are made all the more powerful because of how current they feel.

When Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is forcefully evicted from his family home at the hands of the bank, he becomes determined to get the property back, willing to do anything in order to support his mother (Laura Dern) and young son (Noah Lomax).

Dennis starts doing favours for the sleazy Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), the same real estate broker who kicked his family to the curb, helping evict other people from their homes and blurring his own moral boundaries in their moneymaking schemes.

This is not only a return to form for director Ramin Bahrani, after the somewhat disappointing At Any Price, but it’s also one of his absolute best.  Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon command the screen through brilliant and exceptionally nuanced performances, with explosive chemistry and volatile exchanges between them that are simply thrilling to watch.  Laura Dern brings a moving presence to her maternal supporting role, and Noah Lomax does solid work for a child actor.  These outstanding performances make the whole film feel absolutely magnetic.

With a sense of immediate relevance to the material, 99 Homes is a stirring recession era drama that pulsates with tension, carried by an intelligent and brilliantly written screenplay full of tested morals and heated arguments, that build towards an explosive finale.  After premiering on the festival circuit over a year ago, this film is worth seeking out now that it’s finally open in limited release.

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