Andrew Garfield makes a deal with the devil in Ramin Bahrani’s searing moral thriller – a bitter examination of One Percent corruption, personified by Michael Shannon’s duplicitous real estate shark. Co-stars Laura Dern.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
Ramin Bahrani’s visceral drama of real estate agency run amok is keenly honed to make your blood boil. Michael Shannon is magnetic as Rick Carver, a reptilian broker who specialises in home foreclosure. Andrew Garfield plays one of his many victims, a hard-working tradesman who finds himself evicted from his home, only to then be offered work with Carver – doing unto others what’s just been done to him. Bahrani’s gripping premise is fuel for an enraged and enthralling indictment of the American wealth divide, heightened with the clammy pulse of a crime thriller. Garfield, channelling the wounded desperation of his star-making turn in The Social Network, is terrific as the everyman wrestling with a profound ethical conflict, but this is Shannon’s show – reining in his trademark histrionics for a coolly contained (but no less ominous) portrait of greedy malevolence. — JF
“‘Importance’ is such a loaded, off-putting word, but it’s the right one in this context, because while Bahrani’s filmmaking skill and the excellent performances convincingly sell the experience of the film almost as a genre thriller or a Scorsese-esque, descent-into-madness gangster picture, those of us not directly affected by the housing collapse will nonetheless emerge with a better understanding of its terrible human toll.” — Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
“A timely, terrifically acted moral nail-biter… Carver’s nihilistic state-of-the-nation rants recall Tony Montana in his self-actualising pomp, and Shannon delivers them with Tyrannosaur charisma.” — Robbie Collin, The Telegraph