DVD Review: 99 Homes

99 Homes DVDSTUDIO: Broadgreen Pictures | DIRECTOR: Ramin Bahrani | CAST: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Tim Guinee, Noah Lomax, Clancy Brown
RELEASE DATE: 2/9/16 | PRICE: DVD $26.99
BONUSES: director’s commentary, deleted scene
SPECS: R | 112 min. | Drama | 2:40.1 widescreen | stereo | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

The most criminally overlooked film of 2015, 99 Homes is the latest from Iranian-American indie filmmaker Ramin Bahrani (Chop Shop, At Any Price). Despite rave reviews, the film never found its deserved audience, but there’s plenty to admire in this edgy, suspenseful and unsettling drama that, through word-of-mouth, should draw interest in home viewing formats.

99-homes-2_optAndrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man) plays Dennis Nash, a down-on-luck construction worker who lives in the Orlando area with his young son (Noah Lomax, Playing for Keeps) and mother (Laura Dern, Wild). After being evicted from his family home by ruthless realtor Rick Carver (Michael Shannon, Freeheld), Nash finds himself in a Faustian-like pact with Carver that first has him doing odd jobs, then repossessing homes and, finally, helping him with questionable real estate transactions.

Set in 2010, a few years after the housing bubble burst, 99 Homes—which is dedicated to Roger Ebert, a strong supporter of the filmmaker– shows the poor souls affected by the crisis, and how they were forced to leave their residences lock, stock and barrel. While Garfield is fine as a downtrodden “working Joe” who will do anything for his family even it means selling his soul and Dern offers able support as his hair stylist Mom (it’s still difficult to think of the Blue Velvet actress in motherly terms), it’s Shannon turn that has been much talked about—and rightfully so. He’s as oily as oily can be here, a charismatic and seductive creep who has rationalized sending good people in adverse situations onto the streets–with a payoff for himself at the end of the task. In some ways, he’ll remind audiences of a real estate-flavored variation of Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko.

Even though his films have yet to reach a mass audience despite increasingly larger budgets and higher profile casts, Bahrani is one of the most accomplished directors out there. 99 Homes is another strong effort that delivers thought-provoking drama about the embattled working class.

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.