Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, starring Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Michael Shannon (TV’s Boardwalk Empire), had its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, where it has enthralled festival-goers and launched a possible early Oscar campaign. The drama, a story about the 2008 home foreclosure crisis, initially captivated audiences at its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival last week.
Making a smashing impression and with a palpable buzz surrounding it, the drama already has garnered interest from domestic distribution companies, although the financiers of the film are holding off on finalizing a deal until it premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next week.
The film is said to boast career-defining performances from both Garfield and Shannon, and director Bahrani (Chop Shop) is hopeful to have 99 Homes released in time for this year’s Oscar race so as to reward both actors with potential nominations. Laura Dern, who also appears in this fall’s Reese Witherspoon drama Wild, has been garnering awards buzz as well for her supporting performance in the film.
Bahrani, who researched the film by visiting foreclosure hearings in Florida, wrote the screenplay (along with Amir Naderi and Bahareh Azimi) for the film as well, and is certain to get recognition himself if the movie maintains its torrid momentum. Bahrani has dedicated the film to Roger Ebert, with whom the director had become close friends during the famous critic’s later years.
99 Homes, the first major film to deal with the mortgage crisis, is sure to strike a chord with American audiences due to the personal connection many will have with the subject matter.
The movie follows Garfield as an evicted homeowner who is lured by a Gordon Gekko-esque real estate broker (Shannon) into the swindling and shady back-dealing aspects of the business, all as a means of survival. An online clip of the film highlights the initial stages of that relationship. (WARNING: the clip contains strong language).