The Big Short : A Hilarious Heartfelt and Dense Look at the Housing Market Crash 

The Big Short (2015)

Director – Adam McKay

Writers – Adam McKay

Starring – Steve Carrel, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

Rating – R (Language)

Genre – Drama, Comedy

Metascore – 81/100

Rotten Tomatoes – 87%

The Big Short is an incredibly important and necessary film.  It tells the story of the select few people who saw the housing market crash of 2007 coming and what they did in response.  The importance of this film is that it directly exposes the people who created the problem and reveals the greed and corruption that brought our entire nation to its knees.  We need more movies being made that tackle big issues, especially the ones that get swept under the rug.

This movie is directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers, Ant Man) who is a comic genius.  He has a particular flair that distinguishes him apart from other writer/directors and his flair is prevalent in this movie.  McKay writes comedy very well and stood up to the task of writing some incredibly complicated subject matter making the information digestible by presenting it in a creative way. His direction and writing (adapted from the original book by Michael Lewis) is something brilliant to behold. He combines his humor and passion for the story to create a truly credible movie. I won’t spoil what caused the crash, but what McKay did was develop these characters who are portrayed as “outsiders” and compels us to care about them, and man is this movie funny.

The performances from Steve Carrel and Christian Bale are by far the stand outs of this film.  Steve Carrel plays a very serious, not very funny crusader character.  He does have his funny moments, but he was able to give great depth to his character and give a really solid believable performance.  This sets him apart as an actor who distinguishes himself as a true talent, especially after his performance in Foxcatcher last year.  Christian Bale plays a socially awkward and reserved character, unlike his normal roles.  His character is Michael Burry and he has no interactions with the rest of the cast, but he is the catalyst for all of the characters finding out the imminent doom of our economy.  His performance by far is the best.

The editing and cinematography in this movie is very unusual if you have not seen it used before.  The way it is shot is with one camera in the corner of the room just capturing everything, zooming in and out panning to each character, similar to The Office but more rough and irregular.  This is an attempt to pull off the documentarian feel and it does that well but mixed in with quick edits and flashing images across the screen it is a bit much. McKay even confessed he had never shot a film like this and he became obsessed with it because it felt more natural.  It was the right choice for this film but he uses it to the point that it became annoying and tiresome.

Also some of the writing is overly explanative. Unfortunately McKay goes too far in some scenes giving almost no intellectual credit to his viewers by spoon feeding them throughout the entire film.

TLDR – McKay shows his true skill as a director and allows us to understand truly complicated information by making it sexy and funny. While over indulging in certain techniques and over compensating for his for the intelligence of his audience he still does a fantastic job with this film.

The499 rating – 8.0/10

Author : Jesse Ingram

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