The film is one of the first to look at the human cost of the Great Recession, which saw home foreclosures soar by 81 percent in 2008 compared with the previous year.
Home foreclosures hit more than 1 million as the financial crisis deepened, the highest number in history. Behind each statistic was a family losing what is considered the cornerstone of the American dream, their own home.
As the wave of foreclosures deepened, unscrupulous real estate brokers swooped down like vultures on carrion to evict families and takeover properties for pennies on the dollar. Garfield’s character, Dennis Nash, is one of those victims.
In the trailer, he lives in a quiet suburban neighborhood with his wife and young son until his life is upended by a visit from Rick Carver, played chillingly by Michael Shannon, and three deputy sheriffs.
He has three minutes to clear out his personal effects while all his possessions are moved to the curb. His only recourse is to accept a job from Carver and join in the eviction process in the hopes of reclaiming his house.
Nash gets swept up in Carver’s high-flying lifestyle, creating an ethical dilemma for his wife, Lynn, played by Laura Dern.
Shannon is chilling as Carver. He’s not evil, he’s amoral, indifferent to right or wrong like a shark that swims in the ocean ripping into carcasses whenever it finds them.
“Feels a bit like trouble,” says Nash as he’s handed a gun for a troublesome eviction.
“What did you think it would mean working for me?” Carver replies.
Later in the clip, Carver delivers the bottom line on the American dream.
“You think America gives a flying rat’s ass about you or me? America doesn’t bail out the losers. America was built by bailing out winners by rigging a nation of the winners, by the winners for the winners.”
The movie is based on a true story. How banks and the government failed homeowners is documented in a pro publica investigative series.
The movie screened at the 71st Venice International Film Festival, the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival.
It’s scheduled for release Sept 25.
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