Filmmaker Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes is a powerful film about the untold American story on the housing bubble. The film picks up where the news media left off on what happened to folks who were evicted from their homes during the great housing bubble of 2007-2009. There was non-stop news coverage about bad mortgages and loans and how that almost lead to a financial meltdown in the USA. That news was at the macro level. But, what happened at the micro level and to the families who lost their homes? That is the gap that Bahrani’s film addresses.
We caught up with Bahrani in San Francisco and spoke to him about the making of 99 Homes, and how he wrote the script and worked with Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon. What his idea of a home after having made 99 Homes? Was Bahrani’s work in this film influenced by Jimmy Stewart and Gregory Peck? We wanted to know how he came up with the name of Rick Carver? We also spoke to him about Roger Ebert, the film critic, who was a huge source of influence on Bahrani. 99 Homes is dedicated to Ebert. This is Bahrani’s fifth film.
LISTEN TO RAMIN BAHRANI ON 99 HOMES
99 Homes is the story of Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), a construction worker, who is evicted from his home by real estate broker Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). Nash is given 2 minutes to pack up his belongings and leave his home. Nash, his mother Lynn Nash (Laura Dern) and son Connor Nash (Noah Lomax) move to a motel that consists of other evicted families from that area. Desperate to make ends meet and get back his lost home Nash makes a deal with the devil and ends up working for Carver. What is the cost that Nash incurs in getting back his home is what the rest of the film is about.Bahrani describes the film as a thriller given the Faustian structure of the plot. There are a couple of interesting twists in the plot that makes for an absoring watch. Garfiled, Shannon and Dern shine in their roles and all their performances are powerful. Shannon’s performance in the film deserves a special mention for his icy, cold and ruthless performance as a cut-throat real estate broker.