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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Movie Review - 99 Homes

99 Homes (2015)
Starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Tim Guinee, and Noah Lomax
Directed by Ramin Bahrani
***This film is currently streaming via Amazon Prime***

Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is a construction worker finding it difficult to find a job in Orlando, Florida.  A single father to his son Conner (Noah Lomax), Dennis' mother Lynn (Laura Dern) also lives with him and runs her hair salon out of his house.  Unfortunately, tough times befall upon Dennis and his house is foreclosed.  Real estate mogul Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) takes charge of the eviction, just as he has for so many other homes in the Orlando area.  Obviously not well liked by those he's evicted, Rick sees something special in Dennis and offers him a job helping him clear out and repair foreclosed homes.  Initially against the concept of helping the man who forced him out of his home, Dennis reluctantly accepts the job out of desperation and discovers the difficulty of working for a man whom he vehemently despises.

99 Homes is a well-acted, well-told tale about the real estate boom and its subsequent collapse, but I wanted to be moved more than I was.  Director and co-writer Ramin Bahrani proves he's capable of delivering a solid piece of cinema, but the emotional connection never quite surfaced for me.  It doesn't help that the film, while fast-paced in its first hour, grows repetitive and a bit tiresome during its second half with character development that feels too obvious to sustain its run time.

Don't mistake my criticism as disavowal of the film.  99 Homes has enough going for it to certainly be recommendable.  Michael Shannon embodies the rather intimidating, offensive, crude, and unsympathetic Rick Carver with a vigor that had me wishing this rather malevolent guy was in every scene.  Laura Dern is also quite good in her small role as a mother and grandmother faced with the notion that she's losing the house where her son grew up.  Andrew Garfield is the weakest link in that I think he's slightly miscast here, seeming a bit too young to be Conner's father and lacking a bit of the emotional gravitas needed to showcase his character's struggle.  Perhaps in five years' time, Garfield will become a bit more grizzled, but now he doesn't quite match the soul needed for this particular type of character.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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