99 Homes ★★★½

This is a cautionary tale about greed and profiteering during the 2009 extended economic crisis and home value freefall, especially in the Orlando, Florida suburbs. Michael Shannon plays a pragmatic real estate agent who is getting rich from scams involving homeowner evictions. And Andrew Garfield gets to play to (and subvert) his inherent likability as a one-time victim turned predator employee of the ruthless Shannon. As a lesson in recent history, this story is interesting, even important. The narrative develops realistically...and for the first time I think I started to understand the scope of Bush's mini-Depression and the housing crisis that precipitated it. However, in the third act the script faltered psychologically in its zeal to moralize. At least it did for me. If the ending seemed organic with the rest of the film, I would have rated the entire film higher. But other than that there's much to admire about the acting and direction.

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