Around the world everyone knows that honest hard work gets you nowhere. In sunny Orlando, Florida, construction worker Dennis Nash learns this the hard way when he is evicted from his home by a charismatic, gun-toting real-estate broker, Rick Carver. Humiliated and homeless, Nash has no choice but to move his mom and nine-year old son into a shabby, dangerous motel. All is lost. Until an unexpected opportunity arises for Nash to strike a deal with the devil - he begins working for Carver in a desperate attempt to get his home back. Carver seduces Nash into a risky world of scamming and stealing from the banks and the government; he teaches Nash how the rich get richer. Living a double life, Nash hides his new boss and job from his family. He rises fast and makes real money; he dreams bigger. But there is a cost. On Carver's orders, Nash must evict honest families from their homes - just as it happened to him. Nash's conscience starts tearing him apart... but his son needs a home. In a...
In 99 Homes, there is a point in the film where our villain states that people get too emotional about houses, at the end of the day it is a rectangular box.
This is an important point, buy your house, pay the mortgage off and the house is yours. Re-mortgage it, extend the loan for that extension you do not need, or go for that bigger house and you put that house at risk.
Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is a single father working in construction but the post 2008 recession means hard times for him and he loses his house and has to quickly move with his mother to a motel.
Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) is the real estate agent who forecloses the properties on behalf of the bank. He runs a slick operation, he has the police on the payroll, he cares little about the financial situation of those fallen behind and he is greedy enough to make as much money as possible from the banks by alleging that the former occupants damaged the property and appliances when in reality he has taken it away and then puts it back but bills the bank for it.
By a strange quirk, Dennis volunteers to work for Carver in a house his usual builders refuse to enter and starts a strange relationship where Dennis ruthlessly does Carver's dirty work and earn enough money to get a better house for his son.
However like Wall Street, the film is a morality play, Carver says in the course of the film along the lines that he tried to play by the book but it did not work out, you have to cheat the system. Dennis goes along with it but you know that he will soon realise that he has gone too far.
Parts of the film is moving and also infuriating as both Dennis and Carver ruthlessly evict people with the help of the compliant police. They stand no chance in court as the judges are against those in arrears and Carver is always one step ahead making sure any embarrassing paperwork disappears.
The film is a polemic, not very subtle even though it tries in places to make Carver appear human. The final showdown is maybe low key but it works, the film does not need a big contrived ending.
One big issue I had though was that part of the American foreclosure process was difficult to follow if you were outside of the USA, you get a gist of it but maybe the film needed to explain it more.
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