It isn’t often that I have to warn you all before a review that, this film is going to piss you off. I mean, make you furious. But, in the good way and not due to any faults with the film itself. But the subject matter? Well, get your piss-and-vinegar buckets at the ready folks.
“The Big Short” is based on events which took place before, and during, the Housing Crisis in the U.S. and which ultimately led to the economic meltdown across the Globe. The buzz word of the discussion here is “shorts” – betting on a system to fail rather than succeed even though it is wildly against what is predicted to happen. Following different people who have very different goals, it lays out what triggered the crisis, and how the warning signs were being read long before anyone actually started paying attention. And by that time, the damage had been done.
Okay, so on paper maybe not the most riveting basis for a movie. There’s no action to speak of and you know where it will end at – the World being totally and utterly fucked in the back entrance by the Banking sector. But when I mention the cast includes the massive talents of Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, and Finn Witrock? Yeah, this has some extremely solid casting which really aids in pulling you into the story.And the method of delivery is really interesting on this point. There’s plenty of breaking of the fourth wall and sections where things are stopped in order to explain some of the business jargon. And of course, this is done in a very tongue-in-cheek manner using celebrities that kind of worked in making the scene fun, as well as giving you important information in order to understand the set up better.
The pace always feels energetic, as you shift attention between different people and situations. They do a very good job in providing scope, without confusing the audience. With these events taking place over several years, it would have been real easy to cause an information overload, but a keen balance is set that keeps everything moving forward at a good pace.
The performances cover a wide range of cast-types, from the hyper reactive character of Steve Carell to Brad Pitt taking the back seat and being very cosy and relaxed. There’s a very nice range of deliveries that again, helps to keep things interesting for the audience. Sticking to Carell, his performance is kind of amazing. I loved his no-shit approach and just how much emotion he was able to place in, and make you interested in his arc despite the character being not at all consumer friendly.
But the gut punch here lies behind all of the smart visuals, slick line delivery, and superb editing. (and it is superb). Because while you are watching these people barter and bet on the state of the Housing Crisis, you know what this will all lead to – the economic crash, unemployment, the mortgage crisis, bank bailouts, all of that shit everyone had to go through, and some still are. It is horrific to see just how lightly people approached the idea of betting on the whole system turning to shit so they could ultimately profit from it. And even though not everything in this film happened in the way they illustrate it, or happened at all, a hell of a lot of it did without anyone paying attention or thinking it might be a bad idea for the householders. I mean, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.
That is what “The Big Short” will do to you. It will make you furious at the system for failing the public so spectacularly, and so badly. You will be livid at the actions some take in here. You will be fuming by the end of it all. But is it a good movie? Fuck yes, it is fantastic, splendidly pieced together and with some genuinely memorable performances. It categorically hits the nail on the head with how this should have been broken down, and reconfigured for general audiences so they could understand what happened.
And so, should you see it? I think this is mandatory viewing, you HAVE TO SEE IT. Even if you will be fucking pissed afterwards, you will be thankful you did. And get a great movie to sit alongside the context too, not bad at all for a double deal.
Thanks for reading!