99 Homes (2014) Poster

(2014)

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10/10
TIFF Review: 99 Homes/www.nightfilmreviews.com
lucasnochez12 September 2014
"America doesn't bail out losers. America bails out winners." How is that for an American dream motto? This axiom, among many others presented in the film, is the foundation as the blood- splattered frames of Ramin Bahrani's latest offering begin to roll.

The blood is from a homeowner who'd rather kill himself than be kicked out of his home by Realtor Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). More of a preying vulture than empathetic human being, Carver shows no sympathy for the man who took his life instead of giving up his family home – an attitude trait we believe he has for everyone.

Bahrani, a prolific American independent director, is known for focusing on strong characters. Highly secretive and mostly broken individuals, the challenges and obstacles many of his protagonists face are mapped out and executed in unique, but usually tragic ways. His expertise is focusing more on the formula of their progression than the final outcome. With 99 Homes, Bahrani switches gears, focusing more on the narrative and development of the story, rather than his deep, often slow, evolution of memorable characters.

Thankfully, Bahrani doesn't exactly abandon ship in his character building philosophy with his main protagonist and antagonist in the film. He is able to put more focus on his narrative and visual style here, thanks to actor Shannon, who helps maintain the flow of Carver as well as the people around him. For the most part, character-driven directors find it difficult to give all creative energy to their actors, especially after building up a filmography that shows his obsession with leading his main men. But with an actor like Shannon, one of the most confident and reliable actors working today, Bahrani needs not have this fear of relinquishing control of character development. In fact, Shannon's understanding of Carver's journey and discreet choices of dialogue, begs the question if Bahrani could have achieved this character development on his own.

Bahrani's protagonist is Dennis Nash, played wonderfully by Andrew Garfield. Garfield, who was one of the few fortunate Hollywood actors to grace the stage with the legendary Philip Seymour Hoffman on the Broadway stint of Death of a Salesman, seems to have absorbed much of the acting genius of the late Hoffman. Holding his own against a larger than life acting force that is Shannon, Garfield's Nash allows himself to feed off Carver's greed and sinisterly convincing monologues with scenes of heart-wrench, grit and sensitivity.

99 Homes shouldn't be described as the typical tour-de-force, but more of a tour-de-fact cinematic achievement. The filmmaker, whose adamant cinematic attitude is almost non- apologetic on-screen, choosing to highlight a truly sad time in American history. Set in Florida in 2010, when homes were being repossessed by the bank for every chime of the clock on the wall, the film shows a raw portrait of every family's worst nightmare; a moment of complete vulnerability and uncertainty–being left on the side of the road, with all you're worldly possessions sitting on the lawn.

As troubling as it sounds, some of the best scenes of the film are when people are evicted from their homes. Beginning with Nash, his mother Lynn Nash (Laura Dern) and son Connor (Noah Lomax), and ranging from young, old, non-English speaking, accepting and manic, the film shows the different shades of people, sometimes dangerous and always desperate.

Nash, a general contractor who never sits at the wayside, becomes a true character of action. The determination of Dennis Nash, thanks to the convincing acting of Garfield, is a little glimmer of hope that man is able to triumph over the recklessness of society's actions, but at a severe cost. Nash's choices and inner struggle is a sharp and dangerous double-edged sword. Nash is a truly tormented moral character who, through his journey of self-discovery, wealth and pain, always draws on the most basic human elements. The biggest question Bahrani leaves audiences with is, "what would you do if you were left in the same situation?"

Possibly the most commercial of his work thus far, the director of Chop Shop, Man Push Cart, At Any Cost and my personal favourite Goodbye Solo, does a magnificent job of juggling the moral and ethical lines of his characters, allowing the audience to ask itself the same questions the characters are asking themselves as the film progresses. This fine element of 99 Homes keeps Bahrani's tradition of bustlingly tragic and anguished characters alive with vivid, exciting, and mostly unpredictable results.

99 Homes is one of the most complete and appealing films of Bahrani's career. Engaging enough for causal movie-goers, and enough to chew for veteran nit-picking cinephiles, the film is easily one of the most compelling films at TIFF.

Garfield may be know for his role as afflicted teen Peter Parker or Spider-Man by many, while audiences may know Shannon best for his villainous turn as General Zod in the recent Superman reboot Man of Steel. The best part about watching 99 Homes is analyzing these men, and seeing them transform before our eyes into the demons that haunt the streets and doorsteps of everyday people. Sheltered in our own little seats and watching the unfortunate tragedy unfold on-screen, this compassionate slice of other people's reality is one of the most engaging features of 2014. Founded on concrete performances, sturdy direction and a narrative with a good roof on its head, 99 Homes is built to last.
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6/10
Solid performances boost mediocre storytelling
funkyfry29 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I really wanted to like "99 Homes." I didn't hate it, but it is far from perfect. The skinny: Andrew Garfield is a construction worker who loses his home to foreclosure, unable to find work. He has to move with his young son (Noah Lomax) and mother (Laura Dern) into a hotel on skid row, but through a twist of fate find himself working for the man who evicted him (Michael Shannon). As he gets involved deeper in various real estate scams, his sense of morals has to be balanced against his need to provide for his family.

Some of the action and the plot is very contrived -- there's no reason for this big time con man (Shannon) to bring in a protégé and give him so much access and place so much trust in him. At one point, he's given a crucial assignment, to deliver a forged document, that Shannon obviously could have just as easily done himself. You can always identify dodgy writing when the story has to be manipulated in order to put the characters in dramatic situations. Another problem in the film is that while Shannon's bad guy is quite nuanced, Laura Dern is forced to play the same wise grandmother role she plays in lots of Disney movies. After being kicked out of her home, you'd think she might not be quite so high and mighty about the chance to get ahead in life. The writers of the film can see more than one shade of evil, but only one shade of good.

And that kinda gets at the heart of what's wrong with the film -- it's a film made in 2014, about events that took place in 2010, and yet the film's vision of America matches what Capra put on celluloid in 1946's holiday film "It's a Wonderful Life." According to the film, America is made up of mostly hard working and honest folk who might steal a little water or power from a bank-owned home next door but who would never -- ever -- EVER -- do anything to hurt anybody else in order to get ahead. Whenever the film tries to play at moral ambiguity, it easily betrays it for sentiment. How did we get here, and how do we get out? The film should either present no answers or it should present a better answer than it does. The ending feels like a definite letdown. It's not really earned.

Andrew Garfield continues to show himself as one of the best young actors working, and this really should be sort of a star-making role for Michael Shannon as well. The film is well-directed, but the script is too manufactured.
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7/10
Very well acted, but with a couple of distracting elements
Nerj9 September 2014
I saw this at TIFF 2014 where it seemed to be received pretty positively.

Kudos to those involved with casting as every actor/actress, from the leading Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, right down to those who were only in one or two scenes, did a really good job. There were a lot of confrontational emotions in this movie and the actors/actresses did a great job of getting me to empathize with their characters. I had a hard time believing that Laura Dern's young-looking character was Garfield's character's mother, but she acted well.

I felt that Bahrani struck a good balance between showing the audience Garfield's character's life with his family VS his professional life.

I found the music throughout the movie to be pretty appropriate. The music chosen for each scene complimented the dramatic tone of what was happening.

There were two things about the movie that bothered me enough to pull me out of the tense drama temporarily: (1) There were a couple of big coincidental moments (one of which is directly related to the final scene) that seemed a bit too fate-like. For a movie with the very real backdrop of the US housing market crash, and such believable characters, these unrealistic occurrences seemed out of place. (2) At one point, a montage format is used to quickly show Garfield's character go through a bunch of different exchanges with other characters. This quick cutting from scenario to scenario is a missed opportunity to fully immerse us viewers in a couple of heart-wrenching moments. As a result, the mixed emotions that I recognized I was supposed to feel weren't as strong as they could have been.

Overall, this drama was well done. I think it could have been better in some areas, but it was still a nice watch.
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10/10
There are literally are 99 reasons to go see this movie.
alexcomputerkid14 October 2015
Say what you want about America but money is a very big part of our society. It's a free-for-all pursuit of money and it so helps with having a good family background. If you can't afford college to get your degree or don't have a career after high school, you are on your own. It's like high school all over where you have to find yourself again.

99 Homes has many themes pertinent to today's society. From the idea of money and how to handle your money and also the banking system, it's an accurate image of our society today. Who knows how it will hold up twenty years down the road due to how society is going to change but for now 99 Home knows exactly what's going in the world now and tells it's story in a very original way.

Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is an unemployed construction worker who gets evicted along with his family from his home by businessman and con-man Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). As a way of getting his childhood home back, Dennis joins Rick's business team not knowing what lies ahead for him.

As most kids after high school, I didn't have a plan for myself and college was my only option. I was lucky enough to get a good job at a grocery store that will be able to support me though college. Even though I had my differences with my hometown, growing up in one of the richest towns in Michigan had it's perks also. It's so hard and heartbreaking to watch Dennis not have money or a name to himself. He must support his mother Lynn (Laura Dern) and his son Conner (Noah Lomax) through only construction jobs. Then you have someone like Carver who's at the different end of the spectrum and doing everything right for himself but he is someone who makes his big dough from forcing people out of their own homes and in the wrong way. As we expect, Michael Shannon, always plays a determined and powerful character and he is able to captivate every character that he plays. That said, Andrew Garfield's performance is even more impressive. He is able to express through emotions the things his character is dealing with and he takes you on a ride with him. He plays a character who does not know how to save his family and who is wondering if the scheme he is involved in is the right thing to do. His morals and values are being severely tested.

Another example of the money ideas at play here is the setting. The movie is set in Orlando, Florida, with some of the biggest houses on the street sitting next to the smallest houses where the evictions happen. It is such an accurate image again of how different the concept "money" is for everyone. Some people are set for life where others are living paycheck to paycheck. This film seems to know both sides of that so well.

99 Homes is a film that the main topic is eviction and really this should have been dull ride. How this film is able make this topic interesting and thought-provoking is very impressive. 99 Homes is so off the map on this topic but in a good way.

99 Homes is a character study with Oscar quality performances especially from Garfield. It is also societal story and commentary, a story of determination and one of the top films of the year all rolled in one. There are literally are 99 reasons to go see this movie.
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7/10
The intense drama was increased by it being about recent events and well acted.
subxerogravity30 September 2015
Micheal Shannon really controls the screen when he's on it. He plays villain well, especially well in this film, showing both sides of the coin.

99 Homes expresses how everyone was effected by the economy drop and how using the excuse of keeping afloat as a way to let doing what you have to do corrupt you.

99 homes is about the corruption of Dennis Nash, played by Andrew Garfield as he does what he has to do to get back his home for his mom and his child, after it being taken away from by Rick Carver, played by Micheal Shannon. Ironically Dennis goes to work for the enemy becoming the very person that put him in this situation.

You can't help to be emotional about 99 Homes, it's a movie about a period in history but it's so recent, you either are or know someone who has a story similar. Attacking such current events add to the drama and the tension of the movie.

It was interesting to watch this narration unfold and well acted by Micheal Shannon and Andrew Garfield. Very good watch.
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A thought provoking film
Gordon-119 March 2016
This film tells the story of a hard working builder who gets unemployed, and hence cannot keep up with the mortgage payments and is subsequently evicted. Stars align themselves and his fortune is reversed when he is offered a job by the man who evicted him from his home.

"99 Homes" has an intense beginning that absorbs me into the story. The circumstances it portrays is very real and relevant to people in lower income brackets, and their pain of losing their homes is piercingly recreated. I feel so sorry for Dennis because he appears to be such a hard-working, honest and amicable guy. As the story progresses, he is faced with various moral dilemmas. The story is captivating, and it's helped by the intensity of the marvellous performances of Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield. It is a very good and thought provoking film, that leaves me wondering about the rights and wrongs of Rick and Dennis.
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6/10
Predatory Capitalism
Prismark1012 February 2016
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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5/10
It was an enjoyable movie to watch but the ending ruined it
watkins-298793 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Short and simple. The movie was entertaining the whole way through. Only two parts I didn't like was the mom flipping out and the ending. How can you get that mad at your son and take his kid away. He did what he had to do to help his family survive. I just felt the mom was being ungrateful. I'm also pretty positive that his son would of become excited and jumped in that pool. Any kid at that age would be excited for a swimming pool. The ending was also pretty lame. I mean why end Soprano style. I feel like I wasted my time watching this movie because there really is no ending. Anything could of happened as it ended. If I would of known how it ends before watching I probably wouldn't of watched. So if your like me maybe this review will stop you from wasting time on what could have been a great movie. Movie was an 8 for me up until the end.
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9/10
Another Searing & Powerful Bahrani Film
larrys310 February 2016
I'm a huge fan of filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, and I found his latest offering a searing and powerful film. Set in Florida, in 2010, at the height of the foreclosure crisis and the Great Recession, this can be a most difficult movie to watch at times, not only due to the heart- rending subject matter, but also due to Bahrani's incredible way of presenting the stark reality of the human condition and human behavior.

The superb actor Michael Shannon is perfectly cast as Rick Carver, the corrupt and cold-hearted real estate broker, who for the past three years has been getting rich by specializing in the foreclosure field. Unfortunately, many of his tactics including documentation fraud, and the short shrift given to homeowners in the courts, are not fiction but have been freely documented in the past.

Another fine actor Andrew Garfield co-stars as Dennis Nash, a financially struggling construction worker who's being evicted by Carver from his childhood home, along with his mother Lynn (Laura Dern) and his young son Connor (Noah Lomax). In his desperation to save his home, he ends up taking a job from Carver, which will propel him into Carver's sleazy and corrupt world. It will all spiral down into a most dramatic finale.

In summary, director Bahrani and co-writer Amir Naderi, and led by the performances of Shannon and Garfield, have given us another very strong drama, difficult to watch at times, but, in my opinion, definitely worth staying with.
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7/10
Better than advertised
Floated24 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
99 Homes did received several backlash due to controversy which caused the film to do poorly at the box office, and many of the trailers were not as put as what they needed to be. However, the film has been praised by many majority critics for its daring subject matter and overall tenacious acting (Andrew Garfield delivers a strong performance).

99 Homes begins, the newly unemployed construction worker Dennis (Garfield) has missed just enough mortgage payments to land him in a rudimentary court hearing right around the same time that Carver (Michael Shannon) shows up. The pace of these proceedings is startling, certainly speedier than Dennis or his mom expected. In a couple of minutes, they've got their belongings on the front lawn; a couple of hours later, they've loaded as much as they can into his pickup truck and moved into a motel down the road. The ending is quite predictable but the film keeps those watching interesting in what will happen next.
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7/10
I liked the first half
snsh11 May 2016
The movie starts out well, and the first eviction scene will leave you shaking in your boots imagining your family and belongings getting foreclosed and tossed into the street. I can't think of another film that focuses on the eviction process so intensely.

You're better skipping the end of the movie (after the scene with the old man). The last forty minutes of the film are not satisfying at all, and just gets dumb with characters acting more and more ridiculously. In the beginning of the movie, many of the characters act over the top for the sake of dramatic tension, but it it gets to be too much towards the end.
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9/10
To BE WATCHED from NON American PEOPLE!
claudio5320 July 2017
To really understand what US free economy is capable of! Like a punch in the stomach especially for Europeans! We mostly have a false (PINK) image of American society! I Think Europeans ( I as for one) are lucky to be born on this side of the Ocean! Unluckily (commercial) distribution was strict to show it in European Theatres. Thanks to TV, on demand or DVD people SHOULD watch it at any cost! Direction and actors were FANTASTIC!!! A "pleasant" punch in the belly to confront ourselves with Modern Society!
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5/10
Unrealistic Wall Street Wannabee
chicagopoetry29 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I bet this will be viewed as a powerful, emotionally packed film for anyone who doesn't know the first thing about real estate or construction; but for anyone in the know--it's pure nonsense.

There's one scene in particular, where Dennis, the prodigy of the mentor eviction king Rick, says that he took care of a huge water stain in a ceiling by just plastering over it (he uses the industry term "mud") and then he "found some paint in the garage" and it's all done. Well, riiiiight. As a plasterer I wish it was that easy. That water stain would have leached right through that "mud" and 99 to 1 that paint isn't going to match, even if it's the same color as the age old paint on the ceiling. Yeah, suuuuure, that's what you did, Dennis, sure. I'm lingering on this insignificant one example because it's the most blaring to me, but all in all, the real estate dealings in this film ring with the same untruthfulness. I've actually been part of an eviction process, representing a landlord. First off, it's not always the landlord or bank that is the evil entity. Sometimes it's just the tenant who is the deadbeat and no, the sheriff doesn't show up the day after the judge orders an eviction. The eviction I was part of took EIGHT MONTHS to complete and even after that it took six weeks for the sheriff to finally show up. Nearly an entire year where the tenant didn't pay a penny in rent.

But let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and assume that there's some nook or cranny in this country where what's depicted in this film is possible. That still doesn't explain why the king of evictions, Rick, out of the blue, takes on one of his evictees, Dennis, like Gordon Geiko from Wall Street taking on Bud Fox. There was a reason Gordon took on Bud: Bud wooed him for years trying to get into the door. But there isn't any reason Rick should want to take Dennis under his wing. It makes absolutely no sense. One second he's evicting this guy and an hour of movie time later the guy is practically his business partner, all the while struggling with his conscience in a not so subtle way.

On a side note, the bad guy Rick vapes an e-cig. That seems to be a trend in Hollywood--the bad guy vaping. How lame considering vaping saves lives. But I digress.

For some reason, even after working for Rick for quite a while and making a ton of money, Dennis is still living in the sleaze bag motel where it seems all of Rick's victims end up (in fact Rick owns the motel apparently). Why? At least Gordon got Bud a nice penthouse. What made Wall Street such a great movie is that Bud actually believed in what he was doing for a while, was having fun at it, before he was disillusioned. This guy Dennis, he's never in it for a moment, always showing torment and anguish and guilt on his face (talk about over acting).

Oh yeah, no problem, it's only the biggest deal of my life worth twenty million dollars, I'll trust the little quivering nincompoop with delivering the saving papers to the court house in the nick of time. Really? Okay then. Maybe a normal person would have a lawyer doing that dirty work but no, you trust the jerk that you evicted a month ago. And even the premise of that entire major plot point is preposterous. So they have a twenty million dollar deal at stake but tried to save five bucks by not publishing the legal notice in the paper. Oooooookay then.

Let's be honest, Dennis is a stuttering, half-brained idiot who couldn't even figure out what an appeal means and who let his house get foreclosed as if he didn't even know what was coming. Why in heaven or hell would Rick want to make this guy his sidekick? He can't even communicate with his own mother or son, constantly dragging them around here and there showing them things without explaining as they express the same amount of intelligence he demonstrates: "What? Why? What are we doing here?" And then the stupid ungrateful mother who apparently couldn't waste a second of her own life being involved in the eviction process that got her in this circumstance to begin with sticks her nose up when her son buys her a luxurious mansion with a pool. Oh, no, she has to have her OLD house back. Oh my. One question. Who wrote this crap?
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8/10
Simple and Focused
pc9513 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
(spoilers) Director Ramin Bahrani scores a hit with "99 Homes", a simple and focused tale of greed and avarice. A good cast including Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern, and Michael Shannon (indulging himself in another villain) backs up great direction. What works so well is the apparent investigation of the origins of avarice - indeed being unable to cope and losing your home which so many equate to identity and thrust into foreign, public, and poor conditions. In this tale combining need, shame, and lies Bahrani deftly creates one of the better movies to come out in 2015. The lead character is entranced by the siren song of greed despite all his shame and own experience. Well worth a watch. Recommended 7.5/10
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Powerful Film with Great Shannon Performance
Michael_Elliott22 January 2016
99 Homes (2014)

*** (out of 4)

An unemployed father (Andrew Garfield) loses his home through a foreclosure but soon he starts working for real estate agent Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) who just happens to be the man who evicted him from his home. Pretty soon the man is learning how to make major cash but soon he begins having mixed emotions on his job of evicting people.

Ramin Bahrani co-wrote and directed this rather powerful and thought-provoking film that deals with the market crash of 2008. While everything here is very much fictional the director certainly gets his message across with some very realistic drama. It also doesn't hurt that you get two very good performances including one that ranks among the best of the year.

I will say that there are some flaws in the movie including the fact that the film pretty much is heroes and villains. I say this meaning that the entire foreclosure plot isn't really dealt with in a fair way but the point of the movie was to show how corrupt people can corrupt an already corrupt system. Some of the best moments in the movie deal with people being told they can no longer stay in their homes and these are the moments that work the best in the movie.

Bahrani does a very good job at keeping you caught up in the story being told, although the entire greed angle is something we've seen several times before. The cinematography, music score and all the technical stuff is quite good. Of course, it's the performances that make the film so memorable with Garfield turning in his best work to date. He has a lot of emotions to play here and perfectly nails them. Both Laura Dern and Clancy Brown are good in their small roles as well. With that said, the real star is once again Shannon who is remarkably cold as the snake Realtor who determines that his money is worth more than anyone's feelings.

Again, there are some very powerful moments in the film but the simple greed plot line kinda wore out towards the end of the picture. Still, it's technically very well-made and features a terrific performance by Shannon, which makes it worth watching.
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9/10
A scathing, ex post facto indictment of Trump's America
brchthethird1 May 2016
This film is infuriating and heartbreaking all at the same time, and it should be. Very naturalistic acting and a "ripped from the headlines" story coalesce to give one of the most scathing indictments of what the "American Dream" has become that I've seen a long while. Granted, a few liberties were taken with certain elements (possibly Michael Shannon's characterization), but on the whole, 99 HOMES feels like a fairly accurate representation of what went down when the housing bubble burst 8-10 years ago. And, to a certain extent, things haven't really changed all that much. The story revolves around Andrew Garfield's character, a single father who is evicted from his home. Through circumstance, he comes to work for the man who evicted him (Michael Shannon), and he gets an opportunity to see how the other half lives. But, will he able to live with himself now that he's doing to others what was so callously done to him? While there is an immediacy and current relevancy to the story being told here, at its heart is a rather strong moral argument against what the "American Dream" has become (or at least our perception of it). I was reminded of Oppenheimer's famous quote about the atomic bomb, except with a few words changed. "War" becomes "greed" and instead of destroying "worlds," it destroys lives, reputations, relationships, i.e., all of the intangible things that make the world go 'round. All that separates greed from ambition is motivation and insensitivity to the needs of all others but your own. Other people become a means to your own end. It was fascinating to watch Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield (who I've never seen better) go to work with such a riveting story on a subject that may have more than a few people second-guessing themselves. The only things which worked against the film, in my opinion, were the initial coincidence that leads Andrew Garfield to work for Michael Shannon, and a final act twist which, although not bowing in deference to cynicism, still felt a little unrealistic given all that came before it. All things considered, 99 HOMES is a powerful film which should be seen by all, if only to raise one's awareness.
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9/10
Why isn't this film more famous
zenmateisshite16 November 2016
Its at a budget loss. how can that be?! Shows you what the American (and Global) audience wants; some trivial tripe rather than something meaningful like this film.

Can't reiterate enough, the acting was superb from both main characters.

Yes, there are some flaws: iPhone 5 in 2008, a bit dull at times, felt too long. but art imitates life: we make mistakes in life, life is dull and it definitely feels long sometimes.

But overall the movie is great felt more like a well-researched M. Moore documentary. And Shows you how Murica is going to become under an all-repub government.

Good luck to us all.
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7/10
Not Just a House
ThomasDrufke12 October 2015
I think most of America was impacted in at least some capacity by the 2008 economic crisis/crash. Obviously, the housing market was hit the hardest and really at the forefront of the situation. 99 Homes tells the story of a single father who still lives with his mother in his childhood home having to deal with an eviction and the unexpected events that follow.

99 Homes is a solid film. It has two of the best actors in the business right now with Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield. It's actually surprisingly how many people don't realize how good these two are. Both known primarily for the comic book roles respectively, but they have both down some tremendous indie work as well. The film does a good job of using both of their strengths and playing off each other to create a very intelligent screenplay. Shannon is perfect for this role, but in some ways he's also not. He's great at playing antagonistic characters but in this case its almost impossible to have any sympathy for his character. It makes for an unrealistic dynamic. The film never bored me, in fact I was engaged throughout the story, but I think at times it just became too unrealistic.

Garfield's character's arc was in particular the most unbalanced. It took a lot for me to get passed the fact that he gets hired by the same guy who evicted his home, but the actors made it intriguing enough for me to push it off to the side for awhile. But when you continue to build Garfield's character up to places that just aren't believable, it can take you out of the film. I think you could argue that the 'low' for Garfield just wasn't low enough for me to feel the heights of his 'highs'. It's one of the things Scorsese does so well is create arcs for characters that never feel hyper- realistic.

Laura Dern is also in the movie and does a fantastic job as Garfield's mother. She is the emotional weight that the film needed and brings his character back to the real world when it got too exaggerated. The film will definitely pull on your heart strings at times, especially when you see all sorts of people being ripped from their homes. I just think the structure of the story was unbalanced at times with arcs being a bit too unrealistic.

+Garfield & Shannon's dynamic

+Dern's emotional pull

+Heartbreaking story that's close to American's hearts

-Unrealistic at times

-Low wasn't low enough for Garfield

7.0/10
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1/10
This could have been a 10, ...
jackhuntermtl18 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
... but I am obligated to give it just a 1 as moral of the story is just idiotic, main character is worthless wimp that does not deserve to be alive, much less be given a trusted position in business as a second in command.

OK, now, spoilers coming.

Film is solely about how sad it is that folks are losing their homes. Problem is that writer and/or director missed out on many, many, many opportunities to EDUCATE average imbecile who goes around borrowing money he cant pay back and instead lays blame on the banks and real estate agents.

Only in one short scene it is mentioned that person borrowed 25,000 to make addition to home that was extravagant.

But, if you are in debt to an extent where you can no longer afford your home, and you wait until they come to remove you, there is no other way to describe you except as an idiot.

Eviction procedures take minimum of 3 to 6 months. Before they even begin you need to miss three mortgage payments. There are far more laws protecting home owner than there are protecting tenants and yet even tenants who quit paying rent entirely still get to hang out for 3 months or so til you can get them removed.

So we are talking about 3-6 months time for folks to get their affairs in order, or relocate someplace cheaper. But instead of seeing their end results as sheer human stupidity, ... we should say "oh evil banks and real estate agents"? Why? You borrow money, you need to pay it back. If you cant, too bad for you.

If you don't want to end up like losers portrayed in this film, then don't live above your means, learn how to save money and don't have children you obviously cannot afford.

I have no sympathy nor mercy for fools.
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7/10
Reflecting the truth but strong ending might be inquired
cheer883 December 2015
The story has good momentum carrying through the whole movie. I was glued to the screen to the end. However, I feel its ending seemed not reach what it intended to.

The stories of 2008 housing crisis somewhat were all too generic. Nevertheless, this one is not about losing homes but on the opposite by taking advantages of the already corrupted system. It's a surprise that audiences might never see it coming. The preludes had some unforeseeable impediments in places which kept me suspended. It's a movie without dull moments which indeed was needed for its contents . The director did a good job to grab audiences' easily wandering attentions. However, the ending somehow fell short.

If you like to see some tense scripts without too much drama, this one would be a good choice.
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8/10
Why we desperately need Bernie Sanders, for our next President!
Hellmant10 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
'99 HOMES': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Intense drama flick, about an unemployed single father; who's forced to work for the ruthless businessman, who evicted his family from their home. The movie stars Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern. It was directed by Ramin Bahrani (who also helmed 2012's 'AT ANY PRICE') and it was written by Bahrani, Amir Naderi and Bahareh Azimi. The film was dedicated to the late film critic Roger Ebert. I found it to be politically insightful, and very involving.

Garfield plays a single father, named Dennis Nash. Nash is also a recently unemployed construction worker (in Orlando, Florida), who's struggling to keep a roof over his family's heads; which is also the home he grew up in. When Nash, and his self employed hairdresser mother (Dern), can't make their house payments, they're evicted. An unsympathetic real estate agent, named Rick Carver (Shannon), kicks the two, and Nash's son (Noah Lomax), out on the street. Out of desperation, Nash goes to work for Carver; and reluctantly starts evicting other struggling families, from their homes.

The movie is the perfect social analysis; of what people had to go through, during the 2007 housing market crash. It's also a great examination, of what's wrong with capitalism today (and why we desperately need Bernie Sanders, for our next President). Garfield and Shannon (who was nominated for a 'Best Supporting Actor' Golden Globe, for his performance) are both outstanding in the film; and Bahrani's script, and direction, are both decently effective. The movie is nerve racking, and heartbreaking. It's definitely one to see.

Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: https://youtu.be/j9uf6E4pnlw
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5/10
An unconvincing portrait of society and capitalism
paul2001sw-110 January 2016
'99 homes' could have been an interesting film, a dramatic take on the foreclosure crisis that struck Florida after the financial crisis of 2008. But it's a hard story to dramatise, and the movie fails to offer us clarity on what was actually going on. There's a film that could have been made, for example, about the harshness of capitalism, a system that produces winners and losers, but also a system that has been quite effective in raising living standards as a whole. There's a film about how unscrupulous people exploit gaps in the law to profit off other's misfortune. And there's also a story how the only way the poor may have earn a living is to perpetuate the very system that restricts the options of people like themselves. But trying to tie the three together into a single dramatic narrative gives us a story that is just too neat to be credible: a man loses his home, finds work evicting others, and is even offered the chance to become rich himself (for reasons that do not seem altogether persuasive) by the exploitative businessman who hires him. Yet overall the film is the poor attack on capitalism: what are we supposed to do, let people stay live in houses they can't pay for, just because someone once (wrongly) gave them an out-sized mortgage? Refuse to take the only jobs that will feed our families because we suspect our boss is a shark? The personalised moral conundrums presented by the film are in fact poor illustrations for the mundane dilemmas of life. Capitalism is a system, with its own resilience and (short of deciding to ferment violent revolution) the relationship between an individual's choices and the shape of society is indirect and obscure. I found it hard to understand what the take-home message of this movie was supposed to be, except that there are fundamentally good guys, and bad ones, in the world – which doesn't really provide much insight into how systems can go wrong, and destroy the lives of the individuals who participate in them in the process.
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7/10
high-standard work from a fine filmmaker
gsygsy17 November 2015
Fine work from writer-director Ramin Bahrani, whose Man Push Cart so impressed me a while back. A working guy (Andrew Garfield), who is evicted from his home, attempts to make his way up the capitalist dungheap by making himself useful to the guy (Michael Shannon) whose company oversaw the eviction.

Andrew Garfield is not obvious casting for this blue-collar role, but he is a sympathetic presence. He wears his vulnerability so openly, like a contemporary Anthony Perkins, that you can't help but feel for his character as he digs himself deeper and deeper into the mire. Michael Shannon, superb, is only too believable as a man who strives to have no conscience.

There is no doubt that Bahrani is a fine filmmaker, and I'm sure there'll be more high-standard stuff to come from him. His observation of male behaviour when under pressure is acute and compassionate. His weak spot, on the basis of the two movies of his that I've seen, is that his female characters are so insubstantial. The excellent Laura Dern does her best here with not much to go on.

There is also an excellent supporting performance from Noah Lomax as Garfield's young son.

Well worth seeing.
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9/10
Compelling, Emotional, Brutally Honest, and Topical
DareDevilKid3 January 2016
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK)

Rating: 4.2/5 stars

Fueled by powerful acting and a taut, patiently constructed narrative, "99 Homes" is a modern economic parable whose righteous fury is matched by its intelligence and compassion. It's a searing morality story pleading for justice for the vulnerable middle-class workers who lose their homes to power-hungry bankers, conglomerates, and real estate sharks. The film is a timely topical drama that packs real punch the deeper it goes into the rabbit hole of capitalization and gentrification through deception and wanton manipulation of the law, resulting in the destruction of families and their hard-earned livelihoods.

But it's also a breathless dramatic thriller about predatory capitalism that cuts deep into the nation's economic backbone, with expert camera-work and a poignant background score, complete with moments of conflict that are pitched at a very high level. Emotions are high, lives are at stake, and the palpable sense of something is very, very wrong is pervasive. The rackets and scams the movie exposes are all real, and the result of extensive research. It's gripping storyline highlights how everyone's a victim here, good guys or bad guys, including chief antagonist Rick Carver, which is a testament of Ramin Bahrani's {Man Push Cart (2005), Chop Shop (2007), Goodbye Solo (2008)} pitch-perfect direction.

If not for anything, "99 Homes" should be watched for the acting on display, especially the two powerful lead performances that make for strong recommendations on their own in this tough, emotional film. This is easily Andrew Garfield's best performance hitherto, and the ever-reliable Michael Shannon should be an automatic lock for the best supporting actor category at the upcoming Oscars.

"99 Homes" is perhaps the most compelling film yet made about the global economic downturn and the everyday people whose lives it tore apart. It's smartly narrated with a flair for capturing moments of heightened emotions regularly involving people we meet only once or twice, and it also reminds us how one person attaining his/her dream in today's cutthroat world usually comes at the expense of someone else's.
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1/10
I've been evicted, and this movie is for suckers
MrMcMurphy11 February 2016
If you are prone to emotional manipulation, you may fall for two competent adults being the "victims" of a somehow "surprise" eviction.

However, if you THINK, this notion will insult your intelligence.

Like I said, I was evicted. In America, it is amazing how much the system is oriented to benefit the occupant (I had TWO YEARS OF NOTICES!!!!!! DURING WHICH I LIVED FOR FREE!!!!!).

In this movie, the Broker is the "bad guy." In real life, I FELT BAD for the Broker that had to get me out of my place (IT WAS NOBODY'S FAULT BUT MY OWN!!!!!!!).

If you have been suckered into thinking "banks are bad," and you don't give much weight to personal accountability, you may like this movie. But, if you have any capacity for critical thought, this movie will insult your intelligence.

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Why the hell did he take a job that MIGHT NOT PAY HIM AFTER TWO WEEKS?!?!?!?! I worked on a construction site too (both as a laborer and General Contractor), and the contract is with the GC, who owes his guys unless they explicitly all agree to take some senseless risk on a buyer not getting financing. The General Contractor NEVER starts work until the buyer has financing anyway... How stupid does this writer think we are?!?!?!?

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I don't understand why the actors would take such obvious garbage. Do they really think America is this precarious for us little folk? Do they think we're really this dumb?
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