“This is our home”! construction worker Dennis Nash screams while being evicted from his childhood home and its contents are being indiscreetly being placed on the lawn as the whole neighborhood looks on in horror, disgust and sympathy. Some residents on the crowded Orlando, Florida neighborhood may secretly be wondering if and when they are the next to experience such a public humiliation. I should know – I was one of those homeowners. However, I turned out to be one of the lucky ones who were able to save their home due to the various modifications put in place by President Obama
Around 2006, America began to express a housing crunch like no other. Millions of Americans were being approved for loans way out of their budget and comfort zone resulting is the largest number of homes being foreclosed upon in history. Families were being displaced by banks and given no warning except for the courtesy “10 minutes” they were given when law enforcement showed up at their doorstep to escort them to the curb – literally.
Enter real estate broker Rick Carver, who sees himself as a knight in thing armor or the wizard of oz as he shows up on doorsteps offering “keys for cash”. Carver doesn’t see the homes or the families being displaced no matter what the age or circumstances. He views homes as boxes in various sizes and shapes that can be manipulated like a plan in a chess game.
As luck would have it when Carver and Nash’s paths cross on that fateful eviction day, they had no idea that both their lives would be changed forever.
Andrew Garfield as Dennis Nash proves that money is truly the root of all evil. Nash sold his soul for a little cash to make circumstances better for his Mom and son. Was it worth it? Even though you truly feel the pain and anguish Garfield puts on display as Nash, it is Michael Shannon as Rick Carver that really makes you stand up and take notice. Shannon makes your blood run cold as Carver. You can’t quite figure out if he’s using this new-found power and property to fill the emptiness of the life or if he really is just a class one asshole.
When asked what was the most compelling memory from shooting this film, Noah Lomax (who plays Garfield’s son Connor Nash) asked one child at a displaced hotel if he could do anything different and his reply was “I would do my life over”.
Garfield and Dern shared that in order to make the opening eviction scene real for them, they placed their own belonging on set. “If you’re given two minutes to grab what you are emotionally attached to it will make you react differently”
99 homes is heartbreaking and emotionally shocking to watch. It brings the horrible reality of eviction right up in your face and makes you take a long hard look at what can happen when the American dream turns into a nightmare.
Having screened at the Venice, Toronto and Telluride film festivals, America will finally get a chance to experience 99 homes TODAY at theater near you.