THE BIG SHORT

  • The Big Short by Gemma Clark

  • The Big Short is a comedy drama that is as informative as it is confusing.Directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) this jargon-laden and talent-heavy film is a smug, tongue-in-cheek telling of the financial crisis of 2008 and the groups of bankers that made billions off the back of the crash. And it was all to do with subprime mortgages. Did you know that? I didn’t know that.It answers a lot of the questions that we all probably have; what actually happened when the banks ‘lost’ all their money? Where did all that money go? Who got rich and why are we not hearing of all these new BILLIONaires? I know I asked those very questions the day the economy imploded, because someone had to have gotten all that cash. It can’t have just vanished into the ether.Well, The Big Short answers those questions. It follows the slow build to the collapse with snappy clips of groups of bankers that saw it coming and exploited a weak link that the big banks missed and reveals the criminal activities that led the banks to orchestrate their own downfall.
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  • The whole movie is fast paced and almost violent in its quick delivery and fact firing, but it can be hard to follow if you aren’t an economic whizz kid or a Wall Street broker. But they’ve thought of that. There are bizarre little snippets that break the 4th wall (a cardinal sin of film-making) whereby they get celebrities, including pop star Selena Gomez and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain to explain complicated concepts. It sounds an odd and distracting combination, but it actually works. There is a light heartedness to the film which was surprising, given that it is telling the story of how millions of people lost their homes, their jobs and all their cash. It is comic relief from fast paced numerical, banking jargon being thrown at you.The whole movie is filled with aggressively career minded characters, each with distinctly different yet unifying features. The script is so overly complicated that it is nearly impossible to keep up with and understand everything that’s being said or going on – which is exactly the point, because a lot of the time, neither did the bankers. It’s made clear that the fact they let their own industry get more complicated than they could even understand was the makings of their undoing. They got greedy so got sloppy and missed things. We are shown that, had the banks and the government listened, the financial crisis could have been avoided years in advance. But they kept digging a deeper and deeper hole for themselves.
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  • Leading a disappointingly male-centric cast, Christian Bale takes on the role of Michael Burry, the man that spotted the mistake the banks missed, playing a shoeless, t-shirt wearing loner who does the smart math and spots the fact that the housing market was sitting in a bubble and when that popped, everyone would lose everything. The rest of the characters, including Steve Carrell (taking on a role far in departure from his usual slap-stick comedy facades), Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling, all of whom saw that Bale was not, in fact, mad, but rather a genius. Each one of them is excellent in their own way as they go laughing all the way to the bank.Don’t go into this movie expecting to keep up, because you won’t. You aren’t meant to. You are meant to see that the banks screwed everyone over and they knew they were doing it. There is a cynicism colouring the tone of the film that will have you pouting with indignation at the back-stabbing big banks and laughing out loud at the men that saw it all coming.