Michael Shannon simmers at a lower temperature than many of his film roles in “99 Homes,” Ramin Bahrani’s punchy, persuasive combination of fierce polemic and widescreen genre filmmaking. Shannon plays the appositely named Rick Carver, a reprobate realtor flipping homes in Florida, with Andrew Garfield a single father who slides into his infernal orbit after archetypal modern financial setbacks, facilitating forced evictions of other families. Bahrani, a favorite of the late Roger Ebert and friend of Werner Herzog, makes bold moves here from his neo-neorealist origins in movies like “Man Push Cart” and “Goodbye Solo.” I’m predisposed to movies that mesh topical elements with classical movie form—not all of the “one percent” might own ninety-nine homes, only enough not to count, like John McCain—and Bahrani meets the challenge to oft-fiery result, making blunt political points amid genre-amped melodrama. Shannon and Garfield are lanky exclamation points from separate generations but within the same elemental sentence. With Laura Dern, Tim Guinee, J.D. Evermore. 112m. (Ray Pride)
“99 Homes” opens Friday, October 2.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.