The Big Short (2015)

The Big Short

Adam McKay

Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt

Other notable appearances:
Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Anthony Bourdain

Running time:
130 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Margin Call, The Fifth Estate


Several people working in the world of high finance discover that there is a fatal flaw in the US housing market that will cause the credit and housing bubble to collapse. They purchase credit default swaps to fundamentally bet against the banks and profit from the collapse of the world economy.

Generally speaking, I don’t enjoy financially themed movies because there are a lot of terms that I don’t understand. The Big Short combats this by regularly breaking the fourth wall and letting a variety of celebrities explain the technical terms in real world terminology.

The casting for The Big Short was spot on. Christian Bale plays his role as neurologist turned hedge fund manager Michael Burry with his signature intensity. In his role as the man who first discovered the flaw in the system, Bale succeeds in demonstrating the reason he is an A-list actor.

When I think about Steve Carell, I don’t think of financial drama. I think quirky comedies and man-o-lanterns. However, in The Big Short, I was impressed with Carell’s performance. Carell plays the angry man with a heart impeccably.

This is Ryan Gosling’s first role after returning from an acting hiatus. Gosling comes back with a bang as the slick Jared Vennett proving he is still at the top of his game.

Brad Pitt has a way of playing reserved characters who would likely be unremarkable if played by anyone else. Pitt’s role in The Big Short is one of these characters.

There is a good chance that anyone watching The Big Short upon release would have been affected in some way by the global financial crisis (GFC) that began with the events depicted. On that basis alone, The Big Short should not be able to take humour and make it work. Somehow it does. It makes learning about the cause and effect of the GFC both entertaining and educational.

At 130 minutes, The Big Short starts tiptoeing into what I like to call “are we there yet?” film territory. Despite the length of the film on paper, it never feels overly long or drawn out. The Big Short is engrossing from the beginning until the credits begin to roll.

If you have ever wondered how the world economy fell apart nearly a decade ago, enjoy financial or inspired by a true story films, or just want to sit down and be mentally engaged by a film then The Big Short is one you should check out.

Rating: 4.5/5

“Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”

Categories: Archive

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