Monday, January 4, 2016

The Big Short

Starring: Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
Director: Adam McKay
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Rating: R

"The Big Short" couldn't have a better cast. Unfortunately, it's a waste of eye candy, as all of these would-be hotties have terrible hairdos and spray tans. Enough about the men - this film tells the story of something we're all too familiar with: the incidents and fraud that ultimately led to the financial crisis in 2007. I give it a B. I didn't love it, but the acting was excellent, and I actually learned a lot about what really happened, though I admit some of the dialogue was a touch (ok, an embrace) over my head.
See what I mean? Waste of eye candy!
Photo courtesy GQ
I'm not sure that this film should be categorized as a comedy, though the Golden Globes would disagree with me. There are comedic moments, most notably one with Margot Robbie in a bubble bath, a Luda music video and Tony Bourdain (yum!) explaining what a CDO is while chopping fish for a seafood stew. The most comedic of the bunch (Steve Carell) is the most serious, and arguably, the best in the film. Christian Bale is rarely not perfection, but I wasn't enamored with him in this role. Perhaps it was the writing of the character; perhaps it was his interpretation of it. These two play trader Mark Baum and hedge fund manager Dr. Michael Burry, respectively, who are among the first to be aware of the impending financial doom.

Finn Wittrock, where have you been all my life? I couldn't help but fall for you on the past few seasons of American Horror Story, but in this film, you really charmed me with your looks AND your noggin. He plays Jamie Shipley, a young investor, who with his business partner and their mentor hop on the case and uncover some wrongdoings in the banking world.
Finn Wittrock, the ONLY eye candy; thank you so very much for this.
Photo courtesy
The soundtrack is great and handheld cameras make you feel right there, though Ryan Gosling's narration directly to the camera seems out of place. His portrayal as an investor was pretty cold and insensitive. Blink and you'll miss Brad Pitt (or you may not even recognize him - I'll reiterate, waste of eye candy.)

By the end, after discovering what is bound to happen to the American economy, Baum (Carell) is like a balloon about to pop. His declaration that not only were banks fraudulent (in America during this time), corruption was seen in politics, sports, religion - it's really unsettling. We're reminded that these men who bet against the banks and the housing market ultimately got millions of dollars, which was just dandy for them, but terribly frightening for the American economy. It's worth a watch, but be prepared to listen and pay attention.


  1. Nice review. I enjoyed the film and was pretty happy with how it approached the material from the book. Since I studied economics and work in banking, I also appreciated how they tried to explain what happened to non-experts (and they caught on to the trick that Wall Street uses crazy terminology on purpose to try and fool you into thinking that they're doing something hard!).

    1. I was eager to see what my banking/finance friends thought of the movie! My dad needs to see it - I think he would agree with you!


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