99 Homes

This latest film by Ramin Bahrani is disturbing from the opening scene when Denis Nash, played by Andrew Garfield,discovers he has just worked for a fortnight and will not be paid as a company has gone bankrupt. And things only get worse as that makes it impossible for him to pay for his house and he and his family join the exodus to a motel where they are forced to live until things get better. As if.

Garfield is brilliant as a hard working man trying to care for his family, but swimming against the tide of economic reality. He enters into a Faustian pact to earn money evicting others, and for a time he seems to be winning but of course nobody does.

We all know about homelessness, or we think we do. But here we have people who think they are safe, they think the law will protect them. Then the police arrive and give them 2 minutes to get out. Eveyrthing they’ve worked for, everything they value. That’s it. 2 minutes and it’s all thrown out on the lawn.

Heartbreaking does not begin to describe this, and everyone who left the theatre seemed shocked by how harsh the American system is. But this is the human side of the crash that made our government bail out the banks. Because the people who caused the mess this side of the pond made money at the expense of people like those shown in the film.

It’s really well acted, Laura Dern is brilliant as the mother/grandmother trying to make sense out of what has happened and her son who is coming home with money but not saying where it came from. and Noah Lomax as the son is great as he tries to understand why he has to leave his school and all his friends.

Thoroughly worth seeing, but be warned, it is hard going, but in a good way.

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