The Big Short

The Big Short

(2016)

If you can't beat the banks, make them pay.

Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt lead this true story about the four outsiders who predicted the global economic meltdown. No one believed them, so they came up with their own get-rich-quick scheme – betting against the American banks. Directed by Adam Mckay (Anchorman) and based on the non-fiction bestseller from Michael Lewis (who also wrote the book that was later adapted to the Oscar-nominated film Moneyball).

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Flicks Review

I guess you’ve just gotta laugh at the wholesale reckless looting of a nation, right? As evidenced by The Wolf of Wall Street, corporate excesses can make for hilarious cinema, so director Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Other Guys) seems a solid fit for this true tale of financial outsiders twigging to the imminent collapse of the US housing market. There’s a lot more going on with The Big Short though. The laughs may be plentiful, but this is as much chilling drama as financial farce, and the film’s single biggest triumph lies in making arcane financial mumbo jumbo understandable and watchable.... More

McKay employs all manner of devices in service of the film (and the limits of audience attention spans), from fourth-wall-breaking cameos to editing that unsettles by illogically cutting back and forth in out-of-sync conversations. He’s swinging for the fences in an effort to entertain, educate, and plain fucking terrify, and while the results may not be conventional, The Big Short successfully conveys appropriate levels of mania, panic and hilarity while maintaining a moral standpoint missing from other Wall Street tales.

The Big Short’s aided and abetted by superb performances, with Steve Carell in Foxcatcher form; Christian Bale going heavy metal method in learning how to play drums to Pantera’s By Demons Be Driven; and Ryan Gosling embodying salesman slimeball. Don’t let the subject matter put you off, this is a highly entertaining watch that’s full of belly laughs, but will nevertheless see you leaving the cinema feeling uncomfortable about what you’ve just watched. In doing so, McKay has pulled off a swindle of his own - a splendid, thought-provoking, filmmaking achievement.Hide


BY Booper superstar

The Big Short manages to turn a difficult subject matter into a great film which anyone can follow. Margot Robbie in a bath explaining sub prime loans is brilliant. This film uses the fourth wall well as a storytelling technique, rare these days.

A great reminder and explanation of what caused the GFC and will open your eyes.


A fresh and well-rounded movie with so much to like, let down only by a couple of over the top characters with drippingly ironic character flaws (the rating agency clerk with vision problems and the regulator eager to hop into bed with the banks). Fortunately they fit with the comic, light hearted take on the movie's subject matter. Well worth watching


BY JuliaLee lister

Very clever and full of comedic surprises. Does a good job of sharing with the audience the inner workings of the banking world whilst keeping things light enough for it to not be all a complete mood kill. I definitely want to re watch it again as there is a lot to take in but that's part of it's intellectual prowess. Fascinating look at human nature and some superb performances by Steve Carrell and Christian Bale.


BY DanielK superstar

...then have these guys got a deal for you.

The Big Short does a great job of explaining the apparently inexplicable, tackling the world of sub-prime mortgages and collateralized debt obligations head-on without bothering to apologise if it makes you feel stupid in the process. Explaining this stuff without talking down to your audience is a tricky needle to thread, but director Adam McKay deftly manages it by making ruthless trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) into our narrator and... More master-of-ceremonies. Fourth-wall breaking cutaways to simplified lectures given by eye-catching celebrities (including Margot Robbie in a bubble-bath) have the dual advantage of breaking down the dynamics in an easily digestible way while also signalling just what a condescending creep Vennett is. It’s skirting a fine line, but McKay’s complete confidence in his gambit is infectious, which was enough to carry me through. Margot Robbie in a bubble-bath obviously helped too.

And, in the end, all of this bumf about credit default swaps, ISDA’s and bespoke opportunity tranches is essential to the film’s central, and devastating, thesis – that these are simple ideas that have been dressed up in complicated jargon in order to protect the world’s financial mandarins from being second-guessed by the general public. No matter how knotty it may all seem, the fact that major chunks of these processes can be explained to us in less than a minute by Margot Robbie in a bubble-bath means that… means that… Ahhh, nope… lost it…

The Big Short isn’t always as sure-footed as it should be. The effectiveness of the visual metaphors varies - the unseen monster lurking beneath Florida’s suburban housing developments is nicely evoked by the alligator in the swimming pool, but the huge dark glasses worn by rating agency cog Melissa Leo are a little on-the-nose (figuratively speaking)… Actually, the weakest parts are probably those that take their eye off the financial flapdoodle in order to try to deepen the characters. There’s a subplot about the relationship between Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) and his brother that does nothing but eat up time – none of these scenes tell us anything that Carrell’s performance isn’t already doing, and have the doubly unfortunate side-effect of putting Marisa Tomei in a needless role that the film could lose in a heartbeat.

Ultimately, though, the characterisations aren’t what’s really important here. This isn’t a film about individuals but about people as a mass organism, one with a seemingly inexhaustible capacity for greed, cruelty, self-interest and finally, possibly most horrific of all, forgetfulness.

You’ll be engaged and enraged in equal measure.Hide


BY Brian1 superstar

Definitely worth the seeing. Informative, though would have been more so if the greed and lack of ethics drivers had been put in the context of government policies of the times. The story it did tell was well told.


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The Press Reviews

88% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Will affirm your deepest cynicism about Wall Street while simultaneously restoring your faith in Hollywood. Full Review

  • It’s impossible not to admire McKay’s reckless willingness to do everything short of jumping through flaming hoops on a motorcycle while reading aloud from Keynes if that’s what it takes to get people to finally pay attention. Full Review

  • A refreshing and piercingly clever morality tale - whether you prefer the emotive, simplistic or in-depth depictions of what happened - the film hits its target. Full Review

The Talk
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