The Big Short – Film Review by Fran Winston
Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Finn Wittrock, Brad Pitt, Rafe Spall as Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo as Georgia Hale, Karen Gillan, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Richard Thaler, Anthony Bourdain
In cinemas January 22nd
If you are still slightly confused by exactly what caused the global financial crisis that led to several years of austerity for the man on the street then you are probably not alone. Despite numerous tomes and articles being written about it, much of it was rambling and went over the head of the average lay person. Couple that with the fact that there were so many players involved that it was impossible to keep track and you can see why people hadn’t a notion what was going on.
If you were one of those people then the thoughts of sitting through a movie dealing with the triggers of the crash is probably akin to having your teeth pulled. However, unlike some previous offerings, this is very much focused on ensuring that the man on the street can make sense of it and as a result it is actually quite engaging.
Although I wouldn’t exactly describe this as a comedy, Christian Bale recently won the Critic’s Choice award for Best Actor in a Comedy for his performance in this. He plays an eccentric hedge fund manager Michael Bury who predicts that the housing market will collapse. He realises that he can bet against the market and make a wad of money and since the banks believe that the market is secure all accept his proposal. Although his investors are sceptical he turns a huge profit on the deal but in the process his idea is inadvertently shared with others. With the cat out of the bag and others wanting a piece of the pie it is only a matter of time before the whole system collapses.
Obviously this is a very simplified synopsis and the movie is far more complex but it really does help to put the events that led to the crash into perspective. Many of the characters are amalgamations of real life characters and while Bale may have won the Critic’s Choice Award this is very much an ensemble effort with the entire cast giving wonderful performances and bouncing off each other throughout and American Horror Story fans will recognise Finn Wittrock who proves that he may have a career beyond the Ryan Murphy helmed TV Show.
Well-paced and not too caught up in the jargon this manages to simplify a complicated tale while bringing humour and warmth to a serious topic. Despite this you never feel short changed or like they are glossing over their subject matter. A scathing indictment of all involved, this is probably the most entertaining thing to come out of the crash!