The Big Short (2015)
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Directed by Adam McKay
Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling
Plot: Four denizens in the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight.
Movie Trivia: Author Michael Lewis revealed in an interview that Paramount, the studio distributing the film, allowed director and screenwriter Adam McKay to make this film only if he agreed to make a sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy (2004).
The opening is fast paced and clue me in to what to expect as this movie progresses. The simple, childlike opening cutting without segue to a the hustle and bustle of what I have always know the banking industry to be in my life time accompanied by almost frantic jazz music. The montage of progress up to 2008 feels too familiar. This may be listed as a comedy but I feel like it is going to hinge on the idea that you have to laugh because its so depressing you have no other choice. Mike (Christian Bale) is… odd. To say the least. The first scene with him makes you feel like there is much more under the surface but the only way to know what is going on under the surface is to actually be him. He marches to the tune of his own drum and is not the kind of person I would imagine as a banker at all.
As Mark walks is (Steve Carrel) I feel myself forcing my brain not to make Michael Scott comparisons already. Immediately the first impression is of what a douche he is. I mean… wow. As we go back to Mike’s overview of the mortgage database we see more clues that confirm my original thoughts on his character having much more under the surface. It seems like he is a genius of some sort. The use of montage in this instance feels very familiar, calling to mind Sherlock (BBC series) and A Beautiful Mind. It is effective but not anything that feels new.
The voice over asking is we feels bored or stupid yet could not be more wonderful. IT is amusing and spot on because as much as I try to understand all I Can to be an informed voter in the the country I live it, I am not a math minded person. I do my best to understand but so much of it becomes muddled in my head as I try to sort it all out. I have an imaginative mind and I feel like numbers are more rational than I can easily grasp, if that makes sense at all. So at this moment I appreciate the courtesy and the humor of the voice over, almost as a nod specifically to me as a viewer. The brief pause to watch the gorgeous blonde in a bubble bath, sipping champagne an explaining what all has happened is another perfect fit, humorous and intelligent, explaining but not pandering.
Flashing through Mark’s life back to his time in school is wonderful. I love his mom’s answer to the Rabbi when she is told the only reason he studies so hard is to find inconsistencies in the word of God. That example along with what we have seen of him in the support group meeting tell a story in itself of who this character is. It is also nice to have a movie that lets you pick up on clues to who the characters are without spelling it all out as bullet points on a nutrition label.
When Mike walks from the meeting and the bankers are left laughing with hip-hop music playing I feel a sense of disgust. It may not have been that unprofessional, but I feel like in each of those bankers heads that were in that real life meeting, that is very much how it went down. They were “getting free money” because they had no clue at all what they were doing as a career, even though it was at the cost of millions of families livelihoods, homes, jobs, and very way of life. And they wonder why Millennials are bitter and miss our childhoods…
The dry humor of this matches with the pacing is perfect. It fits the mental image of how us lowly peasants imagine the meetings working on Big Wall Street, the dry humor matches the sarcasm felt about it all. This movie comments on so much more than a simple comedy or a dramatic representation of a true story. They way is goes between the two poles of its subject is flawless and funny. Even the parts that move so fast you aren’t positive you understand, living it helps the understanding. The added side bars of celebrities explaining the movie as we go along is also a commentary in itself on the generation that the makers of the film intended their audience to be. It is relatable on so many levels but that isn’t always necesarily a good thing.
As the surveyor comes to the house to talk to the man about being 90 days late on the mortgage, the real life implications of those times are made evident yet again. The entire way it went down hurt so many innocent people and changed their lives for ever.
I am finding it difficult again to take notes as the script moves so quickly and I lose myself in the story. One thing I do have to note though is how well they have me on the edge of my seat as the housing bubble begins to burst. Even knowing and living it, I am still on the edge of my seat in suspense, which is a feat in movie making in my opinion. There are no surprises in this movie, but I am still invested emotionally in what is happening.
When the movie makes the transition to Vegas and had the Phantom of the Opera opening as the musical accompaniment I was hit with how perfect the two go together. Usually I associate Phantom with New York, Paris and London, but the way that the Phantom character molds and controls every aspect of the opera house from on high does in a way match the views of both Vegas and of the bankers and politicians that made this crisis possible.
This script really is amazing. The celebrity explanations really come at the perfect times to keep everyone in line with what is happening. They realize that the reason this was able to happen in the first place was due to ignorance, so to combat that, here is a face you know and trust to break it all down for you.
As the movie comes to a close I want to cry. It has been such a true testament of what happened, how it happened, and Steven Carrel as Mark offers my personal view on everything. The disgust about the bailout, the rage at how it could happen in the first place. And now, with a Trump nomination, we see more truth in is words as the blame is being placed on the poor and on the immigrants. This movie may be listed as a comedy, but it does much what I thought it would. I makes us laugh because at this point we have to laugh to not fall into a slump of allowing this to EVER happen again. It is a scary world we live in, sometimes you have to laugh at that darkness to rise above it in even the smallest of ways. I laugh and learn because my two daughters deserve a better a future than what I can give them right now.
I really enjoyed this movie and I look forward to watching it again one day when I have more time to dissect it, but for now I give it 4.4/5 and would definitely recommend.