99 Homes

99 Homes ★★★★

TIFF 2014 film #9

Reasons for pick: Director Ramin Bahrani, Goodbye Solo / Chop Shop

Director Ramin Hahrani grabs you by the collar right from the first shot; dragging you around a chaotic scene beginning with a partially obscured suicide by gun victim, and the attendant mess. You’re dragged through rooms filled with police, sobbing family members, and general chaos. It’s here we’re introduced to Michael Shannon’s Rick Carver. We don’t know who he is at this point, but we certainly know he’s the centre of attention.

Let’s be clear right from the outset. This is Michael Shanon’s film. He owns it. He owns it completely. There’s not a scene where you’re not glued to his every word; his every expression. A speech he gives about who and what has made him the heartless monster he is today rings terrifyingly true, and is one of the most powerful I’ve heard in recent memory. If Shanon gets an Oscar nomination … which he completely deserves .. I guarantee this will be the clip they use. Andrew Garfield is competent and convincing as the beset Dennis Nash; a victim of the cruel economy who is willing to do just about anything to keep his head above water, but it’s hard to shine when you have the supernova brilliance of Shanon in almost every scene.

99 Homes is a mixture of socio-economic commentary, and observation on the human survival instinct, but, it never forgets what it really is; a taut drama whose goal is to entertain. To this end, it follows a predictable Hollywood formula, and doesn’t miss a beat.

If you’re in the mood for a riveting drama with a splash of social commentary you certainly would be hard pressed to do better than 99 Homes.

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