99 Homes: Review

99 Homes: Review

99 Homes Film Review. By Robert Andrews.

The prospect of being evicted from your family home, the home you’ve lived in your entire life, is a daunting one, which is encapsulated so perfectly in 99 Homes. In a world where the price of property matters more than the well-being of its inhabitants, 99 Homes explores the disturbing world of home repossession and the disposal nature of morality in a society dominated by money.

The story follows Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), an everyday man who reluctantly accepts a dubious work proposal from the real estate developer (Michael Shannon) responsible for his eviction, in a bid to win back his property and re-home his family. Nash is presented as an honest and hardworking family man, who has little to show for his efforts in life, a frustration we can all relate to for one reason or another. His ambitions in life are solely centered around the well-being of his family, as he fights tooth and nail to keep a roof over their heads, a roof that is firmly attached to the house he has lived in his entire life. 

From the outset, Garfield portrays Nash as a man who deserves little wrongdoing in light of his painstaking situation, as his inherent lack of value in society leads him towards a character defining crossroads. Garfield’s relatable performance enables the audience to invest in Nash’s dubious decision to work for the menacing real estate developer, a decision that forces Nash to forsake pride in exchange for his family’s wellbeing. Nash’s story is a prime example of efficient story-telling, as the audience is immediately drawn into the alternating perspectives of home repossession, without being burdened by a tirade of exposition relating to property management.

From the moment Nash agrees to work for Carver (the property developer responsible for his eviction), the story remains riveting and full of conflict, as Nash’s deal with the devil sees him sacrifice morality for financial security. Nash’s drive for income forces him to dish out the same fate he suffered to other unfortunate evictees, as he finds himself deliberating the values of the world he and Carver inhabit. Hard work is for suckers and the law is a game in which you either win or lose. The social commentary embedded within the narrative regarding law and property is an increasingly relevant thematic choice in today’s world, as in spite of all your good deeds, the law can render you and your family worthless. The law can drag you out of your home in the blink of an eye, as in a world dominated by money, tenants must adhere to the rules of the game or risk facing the wrath of calculating businessmen like Carver.

99 Homes never shies away from this sobering social commentary, as it enriches the enthralling story, adding contemporary relevance to Nash’s journey, a journey that upholds a brisk pace throughout, but ultimately suffers from a premature ending. The concluding moments of the story are embroiled in a state of limbo, with the audience left deprived of the powerful ending the story deserved, as the film doesn’t entirely commit to a fully developed conclusion or a deliberately ambiguous one.

The mere thought of earning a living from the man who tried to take yours away makes for an intriguing story, a story enriched by two stand-out lead performances. Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon initially present themselves as polar opposite characters, who are drawn together by Nash’s eviction and through their willingness to get their hands dirty, albeit for entirely different reasons. Shannon’s outstanding performance as Carver embodies the characteristics of a world dominated by money, with Shannon adding a much-needed layer of complexity to this cold calculating money machine.

Carver could have easily been portrayed as a one-dimensional degenerate individual, but rather than condemn Carver throughout the story, we are invited to understand and appreciate his menacing nature, since society is ultimately responsible for its amalgamation. Carver has merely adapted to his toxic environment and sets Nash out on the very same path, as for all the film’s entertaining qualities,99 Homes presents a very compelling argument regarding the bleak role of capitalism in today’s society.  

Whilst Nash’s story is initiated by a deal with the devil, the disturbing events of the narrative shine light on a startling reality. The only devil in existence is not the individual, but rather the system and society they inhabit. 99 Homes is a prime example of efficient storytelling, helmed by two psychologically intriguing characters, whose perspectives enrich our understanding of the world they live in. Films have the power to get us thinking about the world we inhabit and to alter our perspective on it, as 99 Holmes firmly grasps the viewer by the scruff of their shirt collar and drags them through the nightmarish world of property repossession.

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