99 Homes

Rated 3.0

A hot property and Guggenheim Fellowship winner in the last decade after the 1-2-3 neo-realist nudge of Man Push Cart, Chop Shop and Goodbye Solo, Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani stumbled with his first star-heavy production, 2012's At Any Price. His follow-up film 99 Homes, starring Andrew Garfield as a single father willing to do anything to protect his family home, even if it means evicting other struggling Orlando homeowners, shows a slightly more assured hand, although a strong and complex first half gets undermined by an overly tidy finale. Michael Shannon does a tremendous slither as Rick Carver, an ethically challenged, cash-rich realtor making a killing on human misery, a 21st-century demon dressed in cream-colored suits who first evicts Garfield's desperate day laborer, then takes the young man under his vulture's wing. 99 Homes passes inspection as an emotional tour of the housing crisis, but as a drama it's structurally unsound. D.B.