Once upon a Time, in America there was a crisis happening – it was the United States housing bubbles and a lot of people were not able to pay their mortgage any more and lost their homes! Things like that lead to massive changes in society, especially to cruel fates for whole families.
Today, early in the morning, at 6:30 a.m. to be specific I attended the Viennale – a festival for movies in Vienna – to see the movie 99 Homes. The movie shows us the story of one of these families, which – due to the fact that the father lost one job after the other – also lost their house. It is the story of Dennis Nash a construction worker – played by Andrew Garfield who lives with his mother and his son in a house. One day the police and a real estate operate named Rick Carver arrive at their door to tell them that they lost their property and have to leave, all they want to keep they can take with them but nothing more.
From this point on we accompany Dennis Nash on his to work hard to make his life and the life of his beloved family better. His way leads directly to the real estate operator – who in need of a construction worker – hires Dennis. Dennis hesitates, but not for long. In the end the money wins and Dennis, because of his talents proves to be very valuable for Carver and gets more and more responsibilities. The character play between Dennis Nash and Rick Carver stays in the focus for quite some time, only interrupted with the scenes where the family is involved. Dennis gets more and more money, even manages to get his house back but never tells his family the truth.
The most emotional parts of the movie were the moments where Dennis has to fulfil his duty and tell people that they have to leave. In these scenes we see Andrew Garfield at his best, his face, his total body language shows us a man fighting an inner conflict – to do a job and to get money for that or to show humanity. There are some moments which remind me of good old Mafia stories where you see how money can change people, make them corrupt and let them forget their values.
Apart from Andrew Garfield we see Laura Dern playing his mother with strength and emotion, during his day job she takes care for DEnnis’ son and shows us a very emotional side of what is right. Those are the scenes where the audience knows that we have reason and rationality on one side and human emotion on the other side.
Overall – the story is well told, it has it’s flaws there and that, but really entertains when the actors had the chance to play their talents. The script itself didn’t get me hooked the whole movie alone, maybe it was because the consequences of this crisis was not felt in the same way here in Europe. Here we were confronted with other issues, the good side of the movie is that he takes the topic and puts in a fine and emotional movie, filled with some scenes where you could get the feeling that it happened in that way. The one scene where an old man was confronted with the situation of leaving his house and watching him when he looked completely helpless, overstrained with the situation made me more than wonder. How can human beings let something like this happen?