The Big Short
No one saw the market crash of 2008 coming! Well, actually that’s not true. Some of those greedy Wall Street investment bankers actually did see it coming, and did their best to profit from it. The Big Short tells the story of how these investors came to the realization that the market was going to crash, and how they attempted to bet against the US housing market. The results is a fascinating look at the ins and outs of the world of high financed mortgages, and even an education on how the crash actually happened.
We see the story of the impending market collapse from 4 different viewpoints. Christian Bale plays a genius investor who saw the mathematical trends leading up to the market failure and began the process of shorting the shares (sorry if my terminology isn’t quite right, economics are not my thing). Ryan Gosling is an opportunistic banker who takes a risk by copying this strategy. He also gets Steve Carrell and his band of small investors on board. Carrell plays Mark Baum, a disillusioned trader whose actions are determined by his moral outrage at Wall Street’s corruption. We also see it through two small time investors who come to New York without a clue, but notice the trend and do everything they can to get a seat at the table and profit.
The story is full of jargon and economic details, and it is absolutely fascinating. I love movies that show behind the scenes looks at various businesses and cultures, and I definitely got that here. There is lot of humour, but also a lot of moments of gravitas and weight. For example, there’s a conversation Baum has in Vegas where he comes to the realization of just what it going to happen to the world economy which is riveting. In fact, riveting is probably the single word that describes this movie in general.
The Big Short is directed by Adam Mackay, who usually focuses on comedies like Anchorman, who uses his comedic background to inject the story with energy in a number of different ways. For one, the fourth wall is broken quite a few times, especially with Gosling’s character who more or less acts as the narrator, Ferris Buehler style. Another thing he does, is insert segments of celebrities like Margot Robbie, Anothony Bourdain and Selena Gomez who try to describe complex economic concepts. This was the one part of the movie I didn’t like very much. it really felt like they were dumbing things down for the audience, instead of letting the already interesting content speak for itself through the regular dialogue. But at the same time I sort of see the necessity for it, so I can live with those moments I suppose.
Overall, The Big Short is a great movie, one which deals with the financial crisis in an entertaining yet thought-provoking way, filled with interesting characters and performances. I loved this movie.