The Big Short (Film Review)

23 Mar

A Paramount Pictures Film, Directed by Adam McKay

Released: 23rd December 2015

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall and Jeremy Strong

Review: I don’t know much about economics; I never have and I probably never will. But that still didn’t stop me from enjoying The Big Short.

Out of the recent ‘big’ movies I’ve seen; The Force Awakens, The Revenant, Deadpool; The Big Short offers something different and, in my opinion, far more entertaining.

Adam McKay has crafted a masterful picture with witty dialogue and an intriguing structure.

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His assembled class shines, with each of the main actors; Carrell, Bale, Pitt and Gosling all giving stellar performances which are further enhanced by their lesser-known co-stars’ also thoroughly enjoyable performances. Before seeing the film, I was in the mindset that Bale and Gosling were to be the stars of the piece, but that is not so. Bale plays the interesting yet awkward Dr Michael Burry who, although appearance throughout the film, acts as a bookend of sorts of the film. Gosling, meanwhile, is the enabler, mixing his portrayal of smarmy businessman Jared Vennett (based on Greg Lippmann) with hilarity and cunning; summed up near the film’s conclusion where he asks the audience ‘did you think I was the good guy?’.

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That’s because the real hero of the story is Steve Carell. Carell is lumped with one of the sorts of roles he is known for as witty angry manager Mark Baum (based on Steve Eisman). His messy looks and messier temperament drive the main narrative forward, and his confrontations with the various other characters are golden. Pitt is also one of the ‘good guys’, but to a lesser extent, stepping out of the spotlight to serve in an ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ type capacity.

McKay also brings a wealth of other famous names into the film, as The Big Short continuously breaks the fourth wall in a clever manner, whether that be Ryan Gosling running us through proceedings and telling us which parts of the film are more accurate than others, or bringing in celebrities like Selena Gomez and Margot Robbie to help explain the economy of the mid-2000s to us in terms we’ll understand. He cleverly introduces Robbie as the first guest selection; for anyone not entirely focused on the movie, he sets her up sipping champagne in a bubble-bath as she talks us through what’s going on.

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It’s this clever inter-cutting of comedic film and serious documentary style info-drops that make The Big Short such a great watch. Adam McKay knows what he’s doing, and cleverly tackles the fact that economic collapse isn’t a laughing matter. As we reach the final act of the film, Carell’s character asks the audience (both his in-film and the viewers of the real world) “Still got a sense of humour? Well, you shouldn’t”, before the film is transformed with wholly serious and emotional scenes that bring us into the present day and remind us that we’re far from safe.

McKay ends with a statement that the main problem his characters have faced throughout the film, has just reemerged in 2015; as if history were repeating itself. Definitely a film to get you thinking.

1 Comment

Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Film & TV


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