’99 Homes’ is a 2014 film that is grounded in the post housing market collapse across the US set in 2010, in Orlando, Florida. It’s both written and directed by Ramin Bahrani.
It centres on Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), a tradesman struggling for paid work and about to his home to the bank having failed to keep up mortgage payments after the housing market collapsed. He is an single parent to a young son, and lives with his son, and his mother (Laura Dern).
Early in the film we see the difficult scenes as Nash and his family are evicted from their family home. The police are there to enforce the eviction, but to oversee it is Rick Carver a local realtor in an expensive car, who the police call ‘boss’.
As they are evicted, they quickly find themselves in a run down motel where family after family have arrived with plans of staying for only a few days, but that has become years for some.
As we follow Nash on a journey to try and win back his family home, he takes a job working for Carver as an odd job man. Through this, he sets off down a path where his desperation to get back their hoe, collides with his own ethics and morals.
Garfield and Shannon both deliver big performances, as they almost play out the metaphorical conflict of big business vs the common man. Conflict between a view where a house is ‘just a box’ and not something to ‘get emotional about’, vs. a man trying to get back the home that he and his son were both born in.
Laura Dern is also excellent in this film as well as a grandmother watching this situation unfurl, and acting as a moral anchor for her son.
It may be because I only saw ‘The Big Short’ last week but this does feel as though it would be an interesting double bill movie pairing. Whilst one uses comedy to show you how the crisis came about, ’99 Homes’ lays out the distress that family after family went through at the other end.