Michael Shannon is a villain for our times.
“99 Homes” was one of those films that I had multiple opportunities to cover and I kept passing it up. I believe that Michael Shannon is one of the greatest American actors working there, but I just couldn’t take the time for another contemporary drama film. Then, I watched it. This country and its fiction has a hard time reconciling class warfare with its need to glamorize the pursuit of wealth.
“99 Homes” doesn’t shy from the matter, as they want you to feel Andrew Garfield’s need to provide something material for his family. Fighting over his childhood home, his tools or even his need for dignity doesn’t matter in the battle of real estate. Material possessions provide the sense of identity that the user demands. You are successful if you feed and house your family. But, what about the path taken to that point?
This may sound predictable and you might find yourself assuming that you know what’s coming next. Michael Shannon’s character sums it up best by asserting that America is a nation rigged for winners. By allowing Garfield to become corrupt and fall into what made real estate such a booming industry, Shannon does something amazing onscreen. He corrupts a naive victim in such a way that it feels realistic. From behind an e-cigarette and an off color polo shirt, Michael Shannon is the unknown predator.
You are nothing but a number to him and he has the ability to take everything from you. Michael Shannon plays his character as the idealized rich winner in a world full of poor scavengers. But, Garfield doesn’t get that benefit. All throughout the film, Garfield’s character is reminded that he’s a pretender trying to stay afloat in a world where he’s seen as a traitor. Such depictions of corruption and evil are what I live to see on film.
RELEASE DATE: 10/9/2015