Monday, October 5, 2015

99 Homes [2014]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB ()  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB () review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (S. O'Malley) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review  

99 Homes [2014] (directed and cowritten by Ramin Bahrani [wikip] [IMDb] along with Amir Naderi [wikip] [IMDb]) plays like a "Horror movie of Another / neo-Realist (think Bicycle Thieves [1948]) Kind."  Monsters and Victims, they're _all_ completely, utterly _human_ [TM] and sadly, awfully, horrifically, the adult viewer will understand them all.  

Set in the Orlando, Florida area (think Disney "Happiest Place on Earth...") in 2010 (!) in the wake of 2008 Financial Crisis / Housing Collapse (which hit places like central Florida especially hard), Rick Carver (played to archetypical / certainly Oscar nomination deserving heights by Michael Shannon) is Real Estate Agent turned Mephistopheles / the Angel of Death: After years of "making a Living" (by his own admission) _happily_ "putting people into homes," he's now MADE A KILLING dragging people out of them, buying-up their shattered dreams for a pittance and "flipping" them to out-of-state / transnational Monsters greater than he.  What the heck happened to him?  Exactly.   And yet, again, AWFULLY, "one understands."

"Don't get personal about real estate," Carver tells former / hit-on-hard-times construction worker Dennis Nash (played again with magnificent moral disorientation / confusion by Andrew Garfield) who he hires as his henchman "Igor" figure (after taking away his house in the opening 20 minutes of the film), "There are big boxes and small boxes, but they are just boxes."  Yet, of course, to most people, most VIEWERS, those "boxes" are HOMES ... and taking away those "boxes" from PEOPLE proves as soul draining as any bite by a "Dracula" figure in a classic b-level horror film.

This is honestly a brilliant "look at what we've become" sort of a film.  And yet, one is left with the awful question "You may be right, but what the heck to do...?"

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