The Big Short (2015)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

High energy look at a recent crisis

A movie that you will need to watch multiple times to follow all the math and lingo

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Big Short

Studio:  Plan B Entertainment

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  November 12, 2015 (AFI Fest)/December 11, 2015 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


Wait, who’s selling what to who when?

Houses are booming and money is flowing.  Everyone can get a loan…and that is the problem.  When Michael Burry (Christian Bale) recognizes a weakness in the house market’s essential make-up, he begins buying up loans that will default when the market collapses.  As word of this problem begins spreading, Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) also joins in the chase followed by Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and his team.  Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) catch wind of the potential and recruit former Wall Street agent Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to also get in.  Success is probable, but the bursting of the housing market bubble also could mean worldwide financial catastrophe.

Directed by Adam McKay, The Big Short is a “historical” drama-comedy based on the housing market crisis.  The film was adapted by McKay and Charles Randolph from the 2010 book The Big Short by Michael Lewis.  The film was received with critical acclaim and received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay with nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bale), and Best Film Editing.


I want Margot Robbie to explain the whole movie…in a bubble bath

I’m not an optimist, but I must have some optimism in me in that the film made me very sad.  It shows the base nature of people and the “heroes” of the film are also using and abusing the system.  From this movie you’d think the world was going to complete hell…and if what the movie says is true, it’s been there for a while.

The housing crisis and the boom are hard to follow.  You’re dealing with numbers, anagrams, and terms that most people don’t deal with…as presented in the movie, half the bankers who are paid to deal with the ideas presented in the movie don’t get it either.  The Big Short is a movie that you need to watch more than once to try to wrap your head around all that is going on in the story.  They try really hard to explain the situation in layman’s terms, but a lot of it goes over the average viewer’s head…especially when things begin to crash.


Housing markets collapse, but THE METAL NEVER DIES!!!

The cast is also good.  Each actor brings with them a bit of fun and though Bale steals the show as the completely out there hedge fund manager, he has the easiest role in many ways because he’s so distinctive.  Carell is the character that the audience is supposed to probably identify most with since he has a bit of a moral code (but is also a bit crazy and unlikable).  Ryan Gosling is the slick guy who is out to make a buck (unapologetically) and Pitt plays the “wise one” who guide newcomers Finn Wittrock and John Magaro who are all caught up in the potential profit.  The movie doesn’t have very many female roles and both Marisa Tomei and Melissa Leo feel a bit wasted…Karen Gillan overacts her small role.  The movie uses many celebrities playing themselves in expository scenes which include Margot Robbie, Richard Thaler, Selena Gomez, and Anthony Bourdain.


I will use my zen mortgage powers to levitate your phone!

The movie is fast and furious and has a tone similar to The Wolf of Wall Street with freeze frames, story breaks, and incorporation of modern events.  The editing is slick and quick and keeps the movie rolling which can be hard with all the numbers and terms being thrown around.

The Big Short is upsetting.  It reaffirms the idea that deep down, people are corrupt and the U.S. government is made up of corrupted people.  It doesn’t pose much hope…there are good people in the movie but most of the good people (like Carell and Pitt) are also a bit off their rocker as well.  It also shows that we (as a people) continue to make the same mistakes over and over again when corrupted by greed.  You would hope that society would have learned their lesson after this fall, but the movie leaves you with a warning that it just might be starting again…Hollywood loves a remake and so do members of the banks and governments.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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