While the “Big Short” focused on the financial macro-issues comprising the housing crises, this emotionally-compelling and suspenseful film, written and directed by Ramin Bahrani, employs an “up-close and personal” lens to that socio-economic phenomenon.
Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is a single father struggling to make ends meet. His mother, Lynn (Laura Dern), is a hairstylist working out of their modest home. Dennis is a blue-collar worker involved in the housing construction industry, but there is almost no work anymore, since new home construction and re-models have come to a screeching halt. He is way behind on his mortgage and other bills. His home is in the process of foreclosure, but he has an attorney and hopes he can work something out with the bank.
Unfortunately, his legal attempt fails and shortly thereafter, he is suddenly and brutally evicted from his home by Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). Rick is making a fortune buying these home foreclosure properties, doing some minor construction on them, and then selling them. He has no compassion or empathy for the families he heartlessly evicts.
Dennis feels guilty for not being able to provide for his mother and son, Connor (Noah Lomax). Desperate, he agrees to work for Rick, doing some construction for him on the foreclosed homes. Rick also starts using Dennis to evict families, and insists he perform unethical and even illegal activities. Although Dennis is now able to provide for his family, he is even more guilt ridden about ruthlessly evicting families that are now in the same situation he just was.
The film is very suspenseful as Dennis is forced to make some extremely difficult choices. This film was on a few best 10 lists. I wouldn’t put it in my top 10, but it is much better than the typical rental. Before you watch it, however, make sure your mortgage is up-to-date!