DRAMA; 1hr 52min
STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern
Going down: Garfield (left) and Shannon
Desperation is rife in director and co-writer Ramin Bahrani's hard-driving 99 Homes: set in a fiscally stricken Florida, it starts out nakedly sad, then hits the skids from there. Garfield is disturbingly relatable as single dad and losing battler Dennis Nash, a good man in a bad place, summarily evicted from his boyhood home with his overwhelmed mother (Dern) and young son (Noah Lomax). For the callous foreclosing real-estate broker (the mighty Shannon as Rick Carver), compassion is a failing. Carver is a venal shark who thinks nothing of tossing poleaxed victims of the financially crippling housing crisis into the street. He's no fool, however, and in Nash's terrier's spirit, he sees something he can use.
Nash knows what Carver is, but with his family confined to a low-rung motel and no legit construction jobs, he's cornered. He goes to work for Carver and it's a putrid gig, kicking people out of their houses so he can afford to reclaim the one he lost. Yet even as deal after tainted deal goes down, you care about Nash, and how low he, or anyone pushed to limits they never would have wished to acknowledge, might allow himself to sink.