Thursday, March 24, 2016

99 Homes

2015, US, directed by Ramin Bahrani

While Ramin Bahrani has been moving closer to the financial mainstream of late, 99 Homes retains a good deal of the spirit of more independent cinema, including in its focus on people and experiences generally neglected by big-budget cinema. The protagonists are a hard-nosed real-estate guy and one of the victims of his push-the-envelope financial strategies, who ends up on the sidewalk after he fails to make payments on the family home. There's an obvious artificiality to the setup, and at times the speeches seem quite contrived, while the ending certainly strayed too close to poetic justice for my realist taste, but in between there are some very impressive things going on here -- there's an anger at social injustice that really burns, and a sense that you are in a fully-realized and yet little-known corner of human experience. Andrew Garfield is surprisingly good, and Michael Shannon is terrific, a shark on two legs yet also credibly human.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States