This adaptation of Michael Lewis' nonfiction book The Big Short explores the 2008 financial crisis through the lens of four unorthodox moneymen, who foresaw the consequences of the fraudulent mortgage-lending practices of large banks on Wall Street. Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, a former hedge-fund manager who was one of the first to forecast the collapse of the credit bubble due to excessive subprime lending. Steve Carell is Mark Baum (based on the real-life Steve Eisman), a money manager who rose to fame after successfully betting against subprime mortgages. Directed by Adam McKay. Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and Marisa Tomei co-star.~Erin Demers
Christian BaleMichael Burry
Steve CarellMark Baum
Ryan GoslingJared Vennett
Brad PittBen Rickert
Melissa LeoGeorgia Hale
Marisa TomeiCynthia Baum
Tracy LettsLawrence Fields
Hamish LinklaterPorter Collins
John MagaroCharlie Geller
Byron MannMr. Chau
Rafe SpallDanny Moses
Jeremy StrongVinny Daniel
Finn WittrockJamie Shipley
Al SapienzaDan Detone
Brandon StacyBurry's Dad
Vanessa ClokeLucy Thalia
Aaron V. Williamson
Adepero OduyeKathy Tao
Judd Derek LormandLawyer
Dave DavisBurry's Assistant - Lewis
Shauna RappoldMichael Burry's Mom
Aiden Flowers11-Year-Old Michael Burry
Nicole BarreWoman at Party
Billy SlaughterYounger Agent
Wayne PereMartin Blaine
Garrett HinesDeutsche Bank Rep Randall
Juliet ReevesFront Point Receptionist
Carrie LazarMark's Mom
Jeff CapertonWall Street Journal Reporter
Tony BentleyBruce Miller the Bull
Hunter BurkeYoung Analyst David
Jay JablonskiMatt Wright
Marcus Lyle BrownMerrill Lynch Trader
Elton LeBlancConvention Delegate/Strip Club Drunk/Blackjack Player
Nazeema BartekAnalysis/Silicone Valley Manager/International Traveller
The film shines with a terrific script and subject on hand-- The big dive of the housing market back in 2008, and the people who were smart enough to capitalize on it! The film is audience friendly and really tries to explain most of the banking terms and info we need in order to get what they are talking about. The film also lends great talents such as, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, and more, in portraying these real life characters who saw this coming when no one else would. A film I've watched 10 times already! Amazing pace. Great writing. Great acting. Also, winner of the oscar for best adapted screenplay, by the way.
Talk about an intense and tricky story – there are lots of different “player” groups that are woven into this very real complex story – and this is it in spades. The morals, the belief of entitlement and the outright greed – it all got ahead of itself and the house of cards collapsed. When something is described to you in impersonal, boring tones, with ill-defined terms that makes you feel stupid, that you can’t get past, so you don’t understand the scam. That’s how MBOs and their derivatives (CDO’s and the like) – which were the “junk” – were sold. And the buyer’s antenna just didn’t go up and the “suckers” bought and bought and bought but didn’t really know what they were buying. The story is well-told by the entire cast, the Director tied it all together, and the visual story had an air of intimacy and a sense of urgency in every scene. Finally, lashing it together is a strong and audacious sound-track presented in dtsX that puts you in the middle of this masterfully told story. What a Great View!
Comedy is tragedy + time, right? We're now over 7 years out from the apex of the American financial crisis, which spiraled outward across the world, and yet what has really changed? People are still making millions/billions off the suffering of others, corporate control reigns supreme, fraud is common and remains largely unknown, wealth continues to be ever more concentrated in the grasp of a few, and the remainder of the populace are treated as proverbial rats and made to feel uncouth should they question the system and question not wanting to live their lives playing this sadistic game. Taking 2 pennies and selling them to someone for a hundred dollars remains a legal activity, just call those pennies by a different name and suddenly it's okay to pass them off as fair market.
It doesn't sound funny at all, but The Big Short succeeds in turning this demented and corrupt circus into something improbably hilarious and probing. The power of comedy is its ability to let us see something from a different viewpoint, allow us to process it in ways we wouldn't have been able to otherwise. As we might laugh at children for the hilariously unaware things they say and do, so too will humankind in the future hopefully laugh at how completely pathetic and ignorant our present society has been. Martin Scorsese opened the flap up into the circus entrance with "The Wolf of Wall Street" and, while making good points, was perhaps a bit too concerned with his own technique and had a bit too much indulgence reveling in the frivolity of it all. The Big Short completely blows the top of the circus and dissects it in every way, starting with the widespread fraud and greed in business, and then examining how it has seeped into our entire existences. Even the good guys here are ultimately out there to make money, lots of it. Isn't that what society tells us we must to do, in order to be valuable? It's sick.
McKay's approach here is "throw everything in, including the kitchen sink" and that creates an energetic, brilliantly matched representation of the subject matter. This does not mean he is lacking control, however. The story being told includes so many facets and characters that it easily could have fallen into disarray, but McKay makes every single character memorable and illuminates every piece of jargon that could be confusing from the outset. It's a huge accomplishment and a far more important one than might seem apparent. The things that were allowed to happen in the realms of business, finance, and banking are absolutely INSANE and unbelievable. It has to be largely comedic because there's no other way of delivering this vast amount of information and complete failure of our entire society and make it all snap into place so continuously, without being ripped apart by the overwhelming darkness of it all. This isn't simply circumstantial and theoretical and mysterious to a degree, as in Oliver Stone's "JFK", but the cold hard truth.
It's not enough to even ask for the truth anymore and ask for answers, we need to question the entire system, a whole web of poisonous bonds that have tightly wound themselves so entirely around us. The work of the film itself is allowing us to project our thoughts, our fears, our anger, and our confusions into this convoluted conundrum. All while being told the truth, so that we at least have a place to even start down the correct path of understanding. It's acting as our own investigative journey in a time when actual news and journalism has become a tiny spec of its former self. We now have more information than ever available to us, yet it's often so shrouded and twisted as to become unrecognizable. There are still those who fear education for what it would do to their own position in life, how it would challenge their own reality. We are still held under the thumb of "greed is good", "thinking you're inherently better is good", "vanity is good".
The shiny mainstream hallmarks of a typical Hollywoood commercial product - the agreeable lighting and manicured actors and tidy locations - are so perfectly representative in this film of the emptiness within the characters and indeed in our entire society. After all the progress we think we've made towards world peace and human rights and medical advances and the stability of the human race, have we lost sight of what a fulfilling life and a world of justice should really be? Aren't we still captive to the same pointless rituals and superficialities, doesn't a veritable monarch and royal court still control most everything? We are now living our lives working for something that can be wiped out with the stroke of a keyboard. We are told something of monetary worth that is non-existent, for all intents and purposes, is something we should strive for. Making a bet on the outcome of another bet is a whole industry. The non-existent and ridiculous and pointless directly hurts the lives of many.
The Big Short is one of the most important films of this era and one of the best. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. It is an illumination, a magical pairing of a director's sensibility to exactly the correct form that most fully allows it to blossom and hold water. It is water which the film warns us will be the next basic human necessity to be denied by those few who hold powe
In the context of the film it makes perfect sense, but squeezed in among last seasons holiday releases The Big Short unfortunately seemed to be one of the more forgettable titles. It helped marginally that the faces on the poster are four of Hollywood's heaviest hitters with Brad Pitt bringing in the biggest pull (and ironically putting in the least amount of screen time), but even this didn't feel like enough to distract moviegoers from what is always a saturated market only made worse here by a complicated story that has been relayed in sardonic terms by the director of Anchorman. Of course, if you've payed attention to any of Adam McKay's work you'd know the director of Anchorman and other such Will Ferrell comedies including Talladega Nights and The Other Guys is actually the perfect choice for a film that desires to tell of the housing market crash that occurred in America in 2008. It is a story in need of sharp social commentary, of a mind that might give the boring numbers game an insightful twist and McKay is able to deliver on all fronts by crafting a final product that is as funny and stinging as it is heartbreaking and tragic-a detriment, almost, to the American spirit. And yet, throughout the over two hour runtime the film never ceases to be breathlessly entertaining. There is so much going on, so many words being spoken, so many deals being made, and so many new characters being introduced at such rapid rates that we never have time to settle in, but rather stay perched on the edge of our seats. With its hands in so many different pots it would be easy for the The Big Short to go off the rails, but somewhat unexpectedly the film finds a certain groove in its latter half that, while not matching the frenetic speed of the first two acts, brings in the necessary levity that strikes the perfect balance between both the ridiculousness of the situation and the dire real world consequences. McKay, working from his and Charles Randolph's screenplay that is based on the book by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side, Moneyball), is able to remain so laser focused on what makes these characters so interesting in their own right that the fact they exist in this compelling real world situation is only icing on the cake.