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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

99 Homes movie review: the foreclosing of the American dream

99 Homes green light

A horror story of today’s economy, of America’s heartless culture in which maximizing profit is all. Michael Shannon brings his usual terrifying intensity.
I’m “biast” (pro): really like the cast and the filmmaker

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Goodbye Solo) is the best American filmmaker working today whom you’ve never heard of, but perhaps that will change with 99 Homes, his most mainstream — and most insistently pertinent — movie yet. Andrew Garfield (happily getting back to his social-realist indie roots; Spider-Man does not suit him) is Dennis Nash, an out-of-work Orlando construction worker whose home is repossessed via realtor Rick Carver (Michael Shannon [They Came Together], bringing his usual terrifying intensity)… and while the scene of a stunned, scared Nash family forcibly removed from their home is gut-wrenching, it’s nothing to what comes next, as Dennis finds that the only work available, the only thing that might allow him to get his house back, is working for Carver’s house-repo business. (Dennis’s little family includes his gradeschooler son [Noah Lomax: Safe Haven] and his mother, played by Laura Dern [Wild], who is too young for the role but who is always a joy to spend time with.) A horror story of today’s economy, this is a dismal, and dismally authentic, portrait of America’s heartless dog-eat-dog culture in which compassion is weakness and maximizing profit is everything, one with a humane appreciation for the despair that drives people like Dennis and Carver to their cruelty and corruption, and a bitter fury for the system that chews them up. “You get numb to it,” Carver insists as Dennis is about to kick another family out of their home. But there is nothing numbing in this brutal film, which leaves us with only rage and anguish.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of 99 Homes for its representation of girls and women.


green light 3.5 stars

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99 Homes (2015)
US/Can release: Sep 25 2015
UK/Ire release: Sep 25 2015

MPAA: rated R for language including some sexual references, and a brief violent image
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, sex references)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Joe Schmoe

    yes all us Americans are just soul-less money grubbing androids

  • That’s a lovely non sequitur. Would you care to comment on my review or on the film itself?

  • Joe Schmoe

    it wasn’t meant to be profound, But the movie and your review are okay. But let’s not forget that allegedly well intentioned federal policies lead to the explosion of sub prime mortgages as traditional mortgage requirements were jettisoned in favor of getting everyone a mortgage.

  • it wasn’t meant to be profound

    My complaint was not about its lack of profundity but about its lack of relevance to my review and to the movie. You implied that the movie and my review say something that they do not say.

    But let’s not forget that allegedly well intentioned federal policies lead to the explosion of sub prime mortgages as traditional mortgage requirements were jettisoned in favor of getting everyone a mortgage.

    Another non sequitur. No one is suggesting that anything be forgotten.

    Now, would you like to discuss the movie or my review?

  • Joe Schmoe

    Touchy touchy

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m gonna go ahead and flag and block Joe. And I think if you take a look at his comment history from just the last few days, it will become clear he’s not the kind of person who needs to be commenting, well, anywhere around adult humans, to be sure.

  • And I’ve just banned him. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but he has now proven he is not interested in adult conversation. And now this thread is cluttered with garbage. :-(

  • Danielm80

    I admire that. I admire that a lot, but honestly, I stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt a long time ago:

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2016/02/from-facebook-open-carry-close-brain.html#disqus_thread

  • Bluejay

    And now this thread is cluttered with garbage. :-(

    I would have absolutely no objection to you deleting any and all garbage comments (including any sensible replies). It’s your house and you should feel free to clean garbage up, rather than letting it permanently lie in the hallway for historical purposes.

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