16/08/2016

99 Homes - The System And The People

Quick Thoughts: 99 Homes

After being evicted from his home with his son and mother, Dennis Nash takes a job under the real-estate broker that evicted him.


This is a film charged with emotional movement, a visceral ebb, flow, pull, push, touch, punch of intensity and feeling. It achieves this by striking cords of instinct pertaining to our place in the world, our personal security and the moral state of our persona as perceived by those around us. What's great about this film is its capacity to take two sides of a troubling system and pragmatically tear the viewer apart. It's the kill or be killed system of society that is capitalised on with this movie through a fundamental juxtaposition of big circles and small circles, the impersonal and the personal, the emotional and the sensible. It's the government and free market represented by real-estate that stands for the unemotional business, 'homes as boxes' view of the world. Dennis starts the film as victim to this harsh system of knowing the pit falls or falling down them blindfolded. But, when he works under Rick Carver, he learns where to step, how to cheat and exploit the system. And that's the crux of this film and what serves as the most poignant theme presented. Exploitation. We live in a world of finites. There are only so many homes, only so much space, only so much money. There's a lot out there, but there's also a lot of people - quite a few of them very selfish and very efficient hoarders. This sets up the kill or be killed, it's be exploited or exploit. When you speak of the world like this, you often speak in metaphors and caricatures with the boogeymen laying in wait under all of our beds - but what this film demonstrates with layer after layer verisimilitude, is what seems like shades of truth, what is true for many businesses like those presented. And whilst the example of exploitation in society is severe and emotionally charged in this film, serving as a poignant example of emotions v the pragmatic, we experience smaller doses of what this film represents day-to-day through marketing, advertisements, TV, the internet, such and so on. My favourite example of this though would be the local shops around my area selling something as simple as a drink for £0.99. Whilst some shops do this, others will sell the exact same drink for £1.74. 1 drink, almost double the price. But, how to they justify this? They sell 2 for £2 as part of a big deal. That means that you're getting the exact same drink for more of less the exact same value, only if you buy twice as much. So, if you only want 1 drink, you're forced to spend more, just so you're not made the fool. This, whilst a dick business move, isn't that wrong. What I could just do is buy 2 drinks and save one for the next time or the next day when I want one. But, do I do this? Nope. I buy 2 drinks every time, drink them both and then come back, which, because of my consumerist stupidity, gives the local shop double the amount of money I should be giving them.

This is the paradigm of the film. It's sacrifice, it's sense, it's resisting temptation and emotion, or it's exploitation. The smart and those with self-control and a lack of attachment rise to the top in this system. Whilst this system sucks, who can you blame? Is it the business' fault for wanting to make more money, or is it my fault for buying 2 drinks every time, not going to the other shops, is it the home owners' fault that don't want to give up the home they've lived in their whole life? Despite your answer, it's clear that the world we're building with this system is much less emotional, sentimental and precious, but also maybe a bit more sensible, scientific and pragmatic. So, from where you stand, how important are emotions and personal attachments against sense and pragmatism? In the end, what is right, what is wrong, what would you sacrifice?




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