Ramin Bahrani’s had one hell of a career. Starting with Man Push Cart in 2005, the North Carolina native and Columbia grad directed five films in ten years, all but one of which debuted at the Venice Film Festival. The odd film out, 2007’s Chop Shop, made its bow at Cannes, which isn’t too bad as combo-breakers go. He counts among his champions no less than Roger Ebert, who boldly proclaimed Bahrani “the great new American director” in 2009. In 2013, Ebert passed away; Bahrani was his last interview.
It’s not a stretch to say that Ebert would be a fan of Bahrani’s latest film, 99 Homes, out on Sept. 25 from Broad Green Pictures. The recipient of rave reviews at Venice, Homes is a pitch-perfect mix of modern relevance and universal storytelling. The film’s backdrop—Orlando, Florida in the aftermath of the sub-prime mortgage crisis that left thousands evicted from their homes—may be uniquely 21st-century, but the theme of an initially fresh-faced young man being sucked into, and then overwhelmed by, a corrupt organization is older than the medium of film itself.