Several countries around the world right now appear to be on the brink of an economic meltdown. In places like China, the economy has significantly slowed forcing them to devalue their currency, the Yuan.
Here at home in the United States, Wall Street has experienced scares of its own, giving some flashbacks to a time a little less than a decade ago when the American financial system entered its own crisis. The subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 sent the mortgage market, the U.S. financial system and the global economy into a panic.
In Broad Green Pictures' "99 Homes" Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern find themselves caught in the crosshairs during this time. Garfield (Dennis Nash) plays a single father struggling to make ends meet and provide for his son (Noah Lomax) and mother (Dern). Their family is forced out of their longtime Orlando, Florida, home and into a tiny motel run by a ruthless and savvy real estate broker, played by Michael Shannon (Rick Carver).
Carver profits from repossessing the homes of Florida residents unable to make their mortgage payments. Desperate for money following his eviction, Dennis uses his carpentry skills to work for Carver's crew, and quickly becomes his right hand during transactions. We then watch as Dennis puts other Florida families through the heartbreaking ordeals he and his family went through -- all in an effort to earn back what's his.
As time goes on, Dennis quickly learns there's pain and even danger in cheating the trade. The characters' inner struggle was part of what drew actor Garfield to the story.
"What happens when you are born into a system that asks you to sh*t on your brother in order to merely provide for your family? What do you do? What do you do? And if you don't sh*t on your brother then you are going to be homeless, you are going to struggle to be able to afford enough food to survive. That is a brutal position to be in," Garfield told CBS News.
He went on to say that "this is a circumstance so many Americans are finding themselves in in our society, and our culture that is causing so much pain, anger, rage and righteous anger."
Carver could be billed as the villain, but as the movie progresses we learn he finds little enjoyment out of his sordid practices; he's merely doing what he can to survive in a system built on "bailing out the winners".
It's in Shannon's compelling performance that we come to this realization.
"Rick Carver is not the bad guy," Shannon told CBS News. "It's not his fault. He just took the time to figure out how these institutions work and how to take advantage of them."
In addition to director Ramin Bahrani's extensive research into the topic, several of the film's actors spent their own time meeting families in Florida still displaced as a result of the subprime housing crisis.
"I went to motels where people were living for years who in fact couldn't find their way out of it," Dern explains. "Several families, after years of being in the motel finally the only thing left -- because they had run out of money to be able to stay in the motel -- ended up living in their car with three or four children. Meanwhile, they were watching the news stories of how America had bailed out the banks; I don't know what that must have felt like."
"99 Homes" hits theaters on Friday, Sept 25.