The Big Short

"Excellent"

The Big Short Review


Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using humour to outline the 2008 economic collapse from the inside. With characters who are based on real people, the film shows how economists made a fortune from the financial devastation inflicted on millions of families. And the movie cleverly points out that all of this happened (and people are still getting away with it) because the general public can't be bothered to pay attention.

Things were so booming in the first years of this century that it was easy for the media to divert the attention of Americans away from the dark underbelly of the financial world, creating big scandals out of nothing, spurring rampant buying sprees and making stars of non-entities like the Kardashians. Meanwhile in 2005, investment expert Michael Burry (Christian Bale) noticed that America's mortgage market was turning toxic. So he offered to "short" it, betting against this always-stable market by purchasing credit default swaps. The banks thought they would make a fortune from him, carrying on their dangerous practices. But other experts saw Burry's point, including the nerdy genius Mark Baum (Steve Carell), the shark-like Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) and a pair of newbies (Finn Wittrock and John Magaro) who tip off their reclusive mentor Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt). When the economy imploded, these men became billionaires.

Director-cowriter Adam McKay is better known for silly movies like Anchorman, so he packs this film with raucous cutaways to pop culture references of the period, as well as hilariously absurd explanations of economic issues from, for example, Margot Robbie in a bubble bath or Selena Gomez playing blackjack. This approach actually heightens the horror of what's going on as fraudulent bankers and corrupt government officials conspire to undermine the foundations of the economy. Although the explanations still feel like gibberish to mere mortals, it's at least presented in a way that's entertaining.

The actors throw themselves into their characters, even though their costumes and makeup play up the film's wacky approach (the four leading men all have awful hairdos). While Bale is strong as the awkward brainiac, and Gosling and Pitt are enjoyable in much smaller roles, it's Carell who holds the film together as the only man who seems to have an emotional centre. He's the one who conveys the grim fact that unfettered capitalist greed is what brought the world's economy to its knees. And that the bankers all emerged unscathed to carry on as before while the general population still suffers. In other words, this may feel like a breezy comedy, but there's nothing funny about it.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for The Big Short here:



The Big Short

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd December 2015

Box Office USA: $50.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $52M

Budget: $28M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Regency Enterprises, Paramount, Plan B Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 185 Rotten: 25

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner,

Starring: as Michael Burry, as Mark Baum, as Jared Vennett, as Ben Rickert, as Georgia Hale, as Herself, as Cynthia Baum, as Mortgage Broker #1, as Lawrence Fields, as Jamie Shipley, as Mortgage Broker #2, as Danny Moses, as Porter Collins, as Charlie Geller, as Mr. Chau, as Dan Detone, as Vinny Daniel, as Herself, Adepero Oduye as Kathy Tao, as Himself, Jeffry Griffin as Chris, Lyle Brocato as Casey, as Bruce Miller

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