The Big Short (2016)- Film Review

You don’t know if you’re supposed to be angry or laugh at the absurdity of it all


The Big Short is written and directed by Adam McKay (The Other Guys (2010)) and is based on a book by Michael Lewis.  It has a starry cast that includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.  The film tells the story of a group of men who figured out ahead of the now infamous financial crash of 2008 that the American housing market was built on the back of billions of dollars of bad loans.  One thing to point out is that I thought they would come together to form an investing group but in fact they are separate little gangs who come across the information separately.

This is not the first film to look at the financial crisis and if you want more depth of the corruption of it all I would recommend the documentary Inside Job (2010).  As such the film was always going to have less of an emotional impact on me because I’ve followed the story in the past.  I now jump straight pass the anger stage to marvel at the madness of it all.  Steve Carell’s character Mark Baum embodies this emotional journey as an already angry man who can’t believe at first what is going on before breaking down and just feeling sad about the whole thing.  He gives for me the best performance in the movie and there is one powerful scene that I won’t spoil where he comes to terms with a past incident that I thought took his acting to a whole new level.  He just edges out Christian Bale as Dr Mike Berry, a numbers man who has a real problem dealing with people and prefers to stare at his computer while drumming to heavy metal music.  Brad Pitt is a bit of a disappointment but hey his production company put up some of the money so why not do a few scenes

This Big Short is in turns humourous, maddening and emotional.  There are a couple of fun cameos to look out for as the film takes time out to explain some of the detail.  It is underpinned by a strong ensemble cast led by Carell and Bale.  It’s also a great way into understanding just what was going on back in 2008.  It comes highly recommended, my rating 4/5.


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