REVIEW - The Big Short

Who actually noticed when this movie came out? I barely did, only really noticing the odd bus ad featuring Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, so eye candy. It seemed thou, like any other boring drama about a big issue, not something that would really be entertaining or actually intrigue me at all. That said, given that our local cinema is only £3 on Monday nights, we went along. On my recent flight, I gave this guy a rewatch when I was dozy, and remembered why I drunkenly raved about how good it was on the walk home that night.


The Big Short was adapted from the book my Michael Lewis that describes the about the financial crisis of 2007, the build up to it, why it happened and all of that. Sounds boring, a bit mind numbing and not really that entertaining at all right? There's a reason it won best adapted screenplay at the Oscars; it quite simply makes it engaging, demystifies a lot of the jargon and you kinda end up rooting for the characters.

From Christian Bale's Michael Burry, who seems to see through all the bull and makes the first "short" of the housing market, to "The Angriest hedge fund in Manhattan" lead by Steve Carrell, via Ryan Gosling's smarmy and really rather slimy-yet-likable Bond Salesman (also the narrator) the characters suck you into the narrative. Michael Burry believes he has Asperger's, and that is how Bale plays him, as the one person with vision skewed enough to see whats going on. Contrast this with Steve Carrell's Mark Baum - an experienced investment banker with an anger problem who cannot see how others cannot see, and needs that explained to him, you get really drawn into how the hell it all went down. Also in the mix are two newbie hedge fund guys (mentored by Brad Pitt's character) who stumble upon the whole debacle.

Complex things are explained using methods as diverse as Margot Robbie in a bathtub, Selena Gomez playing poker and Jenga. You learn the weird stuff that happened - the only investment firm to realise it did so via a wrong number, something goes down during a speech saying it can never happen - witnessed via smartphone to everyone except the idiot on the podium talking. Sequences like that one are true, one or two others are conceit, but they are noted. If its outrageous-but-true they want us to know. The Smarmy bond broker narrator breaks the fourth wall often to let us know the difference and explain finer points without clogging the dialog needlessly.

Some bits are scary - when characters realise what they view as confessing, is in fact just bragging. Other times the dialog just makes you laugh out loud, the line "its like two plus two equals... fish" is a shining example. The sequences showing employees being escorted from Lehman Brothers as it imploded is gutting, you feel for the people losing their jobs in a way, I at least, really didn't get from the news reports.

I've watched other dramas on similar subjects like Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street, Margin Call (which I didn't even finish it bored me so much) and nothing actually came close to being as engaging. If you like a good drama, one with WTF moments that defy belief and yet somehow don't I recommend this movie. Beg, borrow or stream it, because it really is worth the watch.


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