The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Movie Review:
“99 Homes”

Oct 26, 2015

The movie “99 Homes,” about homeowners being foreclosed on and evicted, will make you mad. Dennis Nash (played by Andrew Garfield) is a single dad who loses his construction job in Orlando, Florida in 2010, falls behind on his mortgage, and loses his home. Rick Carver (played by Michael Shannon) is the real-estate broker behind the eviction, who then offers him work cleaning up after other evictions.

Dennis is determined to get his house back, so he does job after job for Rick – cleaning raw sewage out of a foreclosed house, threatening his son's best friend's father, and doing an eviction alongside the sheriffs. The film shows some illegal practices of brokers, like stealing air conditioners and then charging to install “new” ones. But what does illegal mean when foreclosure court judges rush through Dennis’s own hearing in a minute or so? And the county clerk's office conspires with Rick and Dennis to file a forged document!

To filmmaker Ramin Bahrani's credit, the movie focuses on the human stories behind the housing crisis. Dennis first refuses the handgun Rick advises him to carry, but soon enough he is eager to have it. The family Dennis has just evicted shows up in the same rundown hotel he and his mother (played by Laura Dern) and his son are living in, which is filled with other families just like them.

This movie might not show a solution for capitalism’s housing problem, but it tells the truth about the true human cost of the banks’ crimes.