A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Ramin Bahrani
Produced By: Ashok Amritraj
Written By: Ramin Bahrani
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Delving into the deep and dark centre of the U.S. housing market crash less than a decade ago, 99 Homes, the latest from writer/director Ramin Bahrani takes an all-telling look behind the curtain, revealing the other side to real estate.
A smaller film that uses a single set of individuals as a symbol for the bigger picture, which in turn is used as a parable for the themes of greed and corruption, 99 Homes succeeds admirably in its low-budget storytelling and overall production.
99 Homes observes both sides of society in great detail against the tragic symbiotic backdrop of blue collar despair and corporate greed. Exploring how far one man will go to put a roof over his family’s head as well as the heartless outings of a statistics-driven broker, the film asks the daring question in relation to the former; how far would you go to protect those you love?
With Dennis (Andrew Garfield) crossing the threshold and working for Michael Shannon’s Rick Carver, 99 Homes raises a number of ethical dilemmas, moral predicaments and establishes that The Devil himself smokes e-cigarettes.
Helmed by two standout performances from Garfield and Shannon, 99 Homes may be a lesser appreciated release to emerge from 2015, but it’s an important tale inspired by true events that sheds light on the darker side of an already stigmatised business.
Set during an incredibly difficult time in The United States where the wealthy capitalised upon the historic crash whilst the poor plummeted even further into debt, dispossession and misery, the motive was certainly greed. 99 Homes explores this disgustingly in the best possible way.
Although subsidiary in the grand scheme of things, Rick sees potential in Dennis but moreover, he sees a connection, something to shape and control.
Like a puppeteer working his fingers upon one of his innocent and vulnerable creations, Rick attempts to mould Dennis into something he is not; there in lies the tension of the narrative.
Observing the good but focusing primarily on the bad and ugly, the film unabashedly strips the essence of hope and optimism away from the narrative as swiftly as a broker swipes the keys of a foreclosed “box”.
Heartbreaking at times and all too often a trigger for an enraged clenching of fists, the story makes you appreciate what you have and poses the question to the audience about whether or not they would too cross over to the dark side in such desperate circumstances.
With a central duo dynamic producing world-class performances in what is ultimately a heavily grounded and human tale, 99 Homes impresses in many areas.
Visually modest with a sprinkling of beautiful metaphoric images, the modesty and small-scale nature of the film makes it one of the years biggest silent achievers.
A tragic true story that is still fresh in the minds of countless families, 99 Homes documents a crushing period in recent history, starkly avoiding dramatisation in the name of masterful, grounded, suburban storytelling.