The Big Short Movie Review

I am sure all of us can remember the financial crisis of 2008, but can any of us really explain what exactly happened? Do we actually know why the government bailed-out the national banks and why the housing market practically imploded? The answer is most likely no, and it is okay neither can I. So, take this opportunity now and drop what you are doing and see The Big Short. It is a brilliant indictment of the financial systems of America and allows you to see what exactly the banks did and got away with.

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in THE BIG SHORT

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in THE BIG SHORT

The Big Short, which is based on Michael Lewis book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, follows a group of outsiders that were able to predict the build-up and eventual collapse of the financial and housing bubble. More specifically, the film follows Dr. Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), Ben Rickert (Pitt), and Mark Baum (Steve Carell) as they all begin to take on the big banks and prove that the most stable investment, the housing market, is destined to blow.

Making his first dramatic feature, writer and director Adam McKay brilliantly serves up a film that is a scathing look into the financial crisis of the mid-2000s. When thinking about the housing markets and the corruption that is found within Wall Street and the big banks, one may not think about something that is funny and entertaining. However, McKay manages to find a way to vitalize the material. The Big Short is extremely funny, intelligent, and self-aware. It never takes itself too seriously, and it constantly winks at the audience as it sparingly breaks the fourth wall. However, the jokes never overpower or undermine the real meaning of the film. McKay is still able to find great balance throughout the movie, and he rarely misses a beat. The Big Short manages to affirm all of our biggest fears about the fundamental corruption that is present in our financial systems, but it never stops being relentlessly funny and bold. This all leads to a modern, thought-provoking film that holds nothing back and contains a sharp satirical bite.

Furthermore, not only has Adam McKay made a film that is an indictment of the ineptitude, corruption, and greed found within America’s financial systems, he also brilliantly constructs a time capsule of popular culture of the mid-2000s. Throughout the film, he juxtaposes the eventual collapse of the housing market with Youtube clips, excerpts from music videos, and images of materialistic items such as iPhones. By doing this, McKay reminds us that the general information that fills our culture and daily lives are usually useless drivel. He ultimately shows us that we are much more likely to remember that Ludacris music video from 2006 or that Brittany Spears interview rather than actually knowing or remembering what a synthetic CDO is. In addition to these popular culture clips and snapshots, McKay also ingeniously makes a satirical joke on popular culture. Scattered throughout the film, there are three guest celebrities that break the fourth wall and interrupt the movie just so they can define banking and economic words and terms to the audience. It is wildly funny and packs a considerable punch, and underlines another message that McKay is trying to make. Is it possible for popular culture to provide the general public with something meaningful? This is where the brilliant lies within the film. Adam McKay has made a film that is embedded in our popular culture that is entertaining and informational. It is exciting filmmaking that is funny, insightful, and important.

In addition to McKay’s brilliant vision and great material, the cast is just as excellent. All of the key players and even supporting players are fun to watch, and they create a high-energy atmosphere that just flows perfectly. Ryan Gosling provides enough humor, confidence, and arrogance that he makes all of us hate and envy him at the same time. Brad Pitt is the perfect mediator between the comedy and tragedy. He is always even-keel between the chaos that is surrounding us and the story. He is there to make sure that we break away from money and numbers and know about the real desperation and collateral damage that is going on in our society. Moreover, Christian Bale is once again living in another man’s skin and delivers an immersive performance. However, out of all of the performances, it is Steve Carell that delivers a performance that is the one that you will be talking about when you leave the theater. Arguably the moral guide of the story, Carell’s character is full of heartbreak and anger. Carell does a lot of the heavy lifting in the film as he portrays a character that has the biggest and best backstory of the movie. He will make you laugh, break your heart, and will get you angry as you realize that most of the main culprits behind the financial meltdown avoided any real consequences.

The Big Short is one of the best films of the year. Adam McKay has crafted a film that is incredibly witty and meaningful. By finding the right balance between comedy and drama, McKay pulls off a film that is entertaining and educational, which is a rare treat in today’s society.

The cast includes: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Christian Bale (The Fighter), Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March), Brad Pitt (The Counselor), and Marisa Tomei (Love The Coopers). It was written by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay and directed by Adam McKay (The Other Guys).

4 out of 4 stars

-By Louie Coruzzolo


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