Posted Dec 16 2015

The Big Short - This Movie Rocks The Global Financial Crisis - With Gags

Dir: Adam McKay

Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei

How do you make the recent global financial crisis A) understandable, and B) funny? In terms of Adam McKay’s The Big Short, the answer to the former is – you don’t quite manage it. And to the latter – just like this.

With this film, McKay makes a huge leap as an Anchorman filmmaker, delivering a movie that is whip-smart, witty and which moves at a pace comparable only to that of global financial meltdown itself.

Bale, Carrell, Gosling and Pitt are there to represent the people who saw the whole thing coming – from slightly different perspectives – and sought both to secure their own future and in some cases alert others. All of which fell on deaf financial ears.

There’s no denying there’s a lot of technical issues here that the filmmakers have to deal with, so Gosling is hired on as de facto Greek chorus, breaking fourth walls and trying to keep us, the audience, up to speed. And when even he realises it’s getting too much for us, he resorts to employing the likes of “Margot Robbie in a bubble bath” – which is, which ever you look at it, a great joke. And never a bad thing. (Even if we’re still none the wiser afterwards.)

McKay though brings such brio to his film that even those that don’t keep up, really want to. Bale is superb as the Aspergers-like Dr Mike Burry, but it’s Carell, on a career high, as the attempted conscience of the thing, who all but steals the show.

The Big Short is complex, smart, intriguing and very, very funny. It establishes McKay as a very different filmmaker to the one we thought we knew and his latest movie as a serious contender. Can’t help but feel the similarly ensemble nature of Spotlight might go some way to cancelling this out in the long run. But this is a very different film. And one that should to be appreciated on its own merits.


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